Due to the exceptional circumstances created by the global pandemic, the magistrate judges in the Jacksonville Division are temporarily modifying customary procedures for preliminary proceedings in felony cases in three ways. Because the circumstances change from day-to-day, these procedures will be revisited often and adjusted as necessary. For any particular proceeding, please call the presiding judge’s courtroom deputy (names and telephone numbers are on the judges' webpages found here) to ask about availability of telephone or videoconferencing.
First, the magistrate judges will conduct the initial appearance and the arraignment in one proceeding, and, if workable, the detention hearing or a colloquy for a waiver of a detention hearing in the same proceeding. Counsel for both sides should be prepared to proceed in that manner.
Second, if the arraignment is not done with the initial appearance, the magistrate judges will accept for consideration a waiver of appearance of the defendant at the arraignment. The waiver form attached must be signed by both the defendant and defense counsel. The arraignment still will be scheduled and still will take place in open court. If there is a waiver, the prosecutor and the defense lawyer may appear at the arraignment by telephone and may call the presiding judge’s courtroom deputy to obtain a call-in number and code.
Third, if a waiver of a detention hearing is not done with the initial appearance, the magistrate judges will accept for consideration a written waiver of the detention hearing. The waiver form attached must be completed in full, signed by both the defendant and defense counsel, and filed before the scheduled detention hearing. Upon the filing of the waiver form and the acceptance of the waiver by the presiding judge, the detention hearing will be canceled.
Please note hardcopies of the forms are now available to inmates at the jails. If an inmate signs a form without defense counsel present, the form will be sent to the Marshals Service for forwarding to defense counsel.