How Do The Florida District Courts of Appeal Work? | Courtrecords.org
Florida Court Records

Courtrecords.org is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the FCRA and does not provide consumer reports. All searches conducted on Courtrecords.org are subject to the Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.

CourtRecords.org is an independent source of public records information, and is not owned by or affiliated with, any local, state, or federal government agencies

disclaimer

How Do the Florida District Courts Of Appeal Work?

The Florida Courts of Appeal are the intermediate appellate courts in the state’s court system. The District Courts of Appeal in Florida provide a meditative review of verdicts made at lower courts by multi-judge panels. The District Courts of Appeal rectify harmful errors and ensure that rulings are consistent with the constitution‘s rights and liberties. This process enhances the development, clarity, and consistency of the law in Florida.

The jurisdiction of the Florida District Courts of Appeals falls within four categories, including:

  • Appeal Jurisdiction
  • Certiorari Jurisdiction
  • Original Jurisdiction
  • Discretionary Review

The appellate jurisdiction of the Florida District Courts of Appeal may be sought to review the following:

  • The final orders of trial courts that are not directly reviewable by the supreme court or a circuit court; This also includes the last orders of county courts that declare a state statute or constitution provision as void.
  • Non-final orders of circuit courts as specified by Rule 9.130
  • Administrative action, if provided by general law.

The certiorari jurisdiction of the Florida District Courts of Appeal may be sought to review the following:

  • Non-final orders of lower tribunals not prescribed by Rule 9.130
  • Final orders of circuit courts operating in their review capacity.

The original jurisdiction of the Florida District Courts of Appeal may be sought to issue the following writs:

  • Writ of mandamus
  • Writ of prohibition
  • Writ of quo warranto
  • Writ of common law certiorari

This also includes other writs essential to the complete exercise of the courts’ jurisdiction. Also, any judge may hand out writs of habeas corpus returnable before the court or any judge thereof, or in the presence of any circuit judge within the court’s territorial jurisdiction.

Florida District Courts of Appeal may review by appeal, any of the following cases based on their discretion:

  • Final orders of the county court, appealable to the circuit court following these rules, that the county court has verified to be of great public importance
  • Non-final orders appealable to the circuit court following rule 9.140(c), that the county court has verified to be of great public importance

Three-judge panels hear cases at the Florida District Courts of Appeal. However, in rare cases, the Courts of Appeal may hold en banc hearings, in which all the judges hear the case. Also, District Courts of Appeal may retreat from specific case law and criterion in subsequent verdicts. Also, the Supreme Court may overrule a District Court’s criterion in favor of conflicting case law from another district.

The five District Courts of Appeal in Florida have jurisdiction over the following counties:

First District Court of Appeal

First Circuit: Walton, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Escambia counties

Second Circuit: Wakulla, Liberty, Leon, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, and counties

Third Circuit: Dixie, Hamilton, Columbia, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor counties

Fourth Circuit: Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties

Eighth Circuit: Baker, Bradford, Alachua, Gilchrist, Union, and Levy counties

Fourteenth Circuit: Bay, Calhoun, Holmes, Gulf, Washington, and Jackson counties

Second District Court of Appeal

Sixth Circuit: Pinellas and Pasco counties

Tenth Circuit: Highlands, Polk, and Hardee counties

Twelfth Circuit: DeSoto, Sarasota, and Manatee counties

Thirteenth Circuit: Hillsborough county

Twentieth Circuit: Charlotte, Glades, Collier, Lee, and Hendry counties

Third District Court of Appeal

Eleventh Circuit: Miami-Dade county

Sixteenth Circuit: Monroe county

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Fifteenth Circuit: Palm Beach county

Seventeenth Circuit: Broward county

Nineteenth Circuit: Indian River, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Martin counties

Fifth District Court of Appeal

Fifth Circuit: Citrus, Lake, Hernando, Sumter, and Marion counties

Seventh Circuit: Flagler, St. Johns, Volusia, and Putnam counties

Ninth Circuit: Osceola and Orange counties

Eighteenth Circuit: Brevard and Seminole counties

Similar to the procedure for appointing justices in the Florida Supreme Court, the Judicial Nominating Commission recommends judges for the District Court of Appeal. After this, the state governor then makes an appointment from the nominated options. The District Court of Appeal judges have a six-year term but must retire at age 75 even if they have not concluded their tenure. 

After a term, the electors in the judge’s districts will be asked on the ballot to vote to determine whether the judge should be retained. (Retention rates are very high). The Florida District Courts of Appeal have varying numbers of judges depending on the docket size. The district court judges within a particular district court also elect a chief judge from among themselves. The chief judge performs administrative duties in the court.

To qualify as a judge, the applicant must be an eligible and registered voter residing in Florida. The candidate must also have been a Florida Bar member of good standing for at least ten years.

The Florida District Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court follow similar discipline and impeachment procedures. A judge may be removed by any of these two means:

  • Sentenced by a two-thirds vote of the Senate and impeached by a two-thirds vote of the Florida House of Representatives
  • Removed by the Supreme Court after a recommendation from the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission

Florida District Courts of Appeal (DCA) have regularly updated court dockets. For all courts excluding the Fourth and Fifth District Courts of Appeal, case information is refreshed once every weekday from 4:30 p.m. For the Fourth DCA, case information is refreshed twice daily at 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The Fifth DCA’s case information is also refreshed twice daily at 10:00 a.m. and 4:40 p.m.

The Florida District Courts of Appeal dockets include:

  • First District Court of Appeal Online Docket
  • Second District Court of Appeal Online Docket
  • Third District Court of Appeal Online Docket
  • Fourth District Court of Appeal Online Docket
  • Fifth District Court of Appeal Online Docket

Interested persons may access this information by searching the above dockets with any of the following:

  • Case Number
  • Name of Party or Attorney
  • Lower Tribunal Case Number
  • Date Filed
  • Cases Filed

There is no fixed time for an appeal to be resolved. When the briefing is finalized, the Florida Court of Appeals will set a date for an oral conference or argument as the court’s schedule permits. Since every case is treated discreetly, the length of time used to decide a case depends on the facts and the court’s caseload. However, a case could spend as much as 25 months or as little as six months in court.

There are five Florida District Courts of Appeal serving each judicial district in the state. These include Tallahassee, Lakeland, Miami, West Palm Beach, and Daytona Beach. The contact information of each District Court of Appeal is as follows:

The First District Court of Appeal

2000 Drayton Drive

Tallahassee, Florida

32399–0950

Main: (850) 487–1000

Clerk’s Office: (850) 488–6151

Operating Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. excluding holidays

The Second District Court of Appeal

811 East Main Street

Lakeland, FL 33801

Mailing Address

P. O. Box 327

Lakeland, FL 33802

Clerk’s Office: (863) 940–6060

Marshal’s Office and Judges’ Chambers: (863) 940–6050

Operating Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. excluding holidays

The Third District Court of Appeal

2001 S. W. 117th Avenue

Miami, FL 33175

(305) 229–3200

Operating Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays

 

The Fourth District Court of Appeal

110 South Tamarind Avenue

West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Telephone: (561) 242–2000

Operating Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays

The Fifth District Court of Appeal

300 South Beach Street

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Phone: (386) 947–1530

Clerk’s Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays

disclaimer