The Florida County Court System

The Florida County Court System involves courts wielding limited jurisdiction in the state of Florida. Established to account for each of the 67 counties in the state, the Florida Constitution outlines the jurisdictions and power that a county court judge may wield.

They typically handle matters like misdemeanors or small claims. Small claims actions involve money under 500 dollars disputed. However, these courts may also oversee civil cases of less than $15,000 disputed, as well as traffic violations.

Our team from Reach Voters understands that the Florida Court System can prove confusing for voters, and even for some potential candidates that remain new to the arena. For this reason, our specialists want to break down some information on how this system works, in addition to providing content on the distinct nuances on the county level. Read on to learn more!

What is the Difference Between a Circuit and County Court Judge in Miami?

In Florida, both county and circuit court judges serve as trial judges. However, a county court judge in Miami will only oversee criminal misdemeanors. These consist of crimes that wield possible sentencing of less than one year in jail. A county court judge will also hear civil cases when the disputed amount totals $15,000 or less.

Contrarily, circuit court judges handle criminal felony cases, in addition to probate matters, and civil cases where the amount in dispute remains over $15,000. Judges that take the bench on the five District Courts of Appeal, as well as the Florida Supreme Court,  review the decisions made by the lower trial courts.

Both circuit and county court judges are elected for a six-year term. This begins on the first Tuesday, after the first Monday in January following a general election. To retain a seat on the bench at the end of each term, judges must be reelected. 

Nevertheless, when a judge takes over a seat on the county or circuit due to a vacancy by appointment, they serve until the end of the remainder of this term. Additionally, a circuit or county court judge in Miami, as well as throughout Florida, does not possess limitations on the number of times they can be reelected. Consequently, they cannot serve in Florida past the age of 70 years old.

Judicial Seat Qualifications, County Court Judge Campaign Platforms and Responsibilities

A potential candidate remains qualified to run for a judicial election after earning a law degree from an accredited law school outlined by the American Bar Association. Candidates for trial judge seats must also remain active membership with The Florida Bar for at least five years. Candidates for county court judge in Miami can see learn more via the Candidate Qualifying Handbook for Miami-Dade.

Any judicial candidate is prohibited by law from making any predictions or promises regarding issues that may arise once they take the bench. This is mainly due to their responsibility to make impartial decisions concerning the law on the cases they oversee. Their position requires them to consider the facts of each case and applying the appropriate law without regard to any personal beliefs or views.

Essentially, a county court judge in Miami must preside over trials and hearings. In the courtroom, they make decisions concerning acceptable testimony, in addition to evidence. They can only establish new law when no applicable law to resolve an issue exists.

This responsibility extends to ensuring that jurors also clearly and comprehensively understand the law and its application. In situations with no jury present, judges will decide cases based on this applicability of the law and their unique view of the evidence. For this reason, judicial candidates must possess extensive knowledge and expertise in the law.

Information on a County Court Judge in Miami from Reach Voters

County Court Judge in MiamiA county court judge in Miami must display the impartiality and a comprehensive legal understanding while on the bench. They must deal with cases both criminal and civil in nature. Although it remains essential for judges to wield experience in areas where they preside, they must also diversify their knowledge as focusing in an area is not more important than any other.

Voting in judicial elections is essential, as the power over who holds these crucial positions rests with the people. Despite judges remaining bound by prior, established law on issues, they may interpret the law differently depending on a variety of scenarios. For this reason, voters must take part in electing the individuals that they see most fit to rule. For more information on this process, contact Reach Voters today!