Frequently Asked Questions
To safeguard the health and welfare of the community, no proceedings or court events (other than those essential and critical to a state of emergency or to the COVID-19 public health emergency) are being conducted in person at the courthouse.
Is the court closed?
No. Essential proceedings are being heard in person at the Thomas S. Kirk Juvenile Justice Center, the Booking and Release Center, and the courthouses in Orange and Osceola County. All other hearings are being postponed and rescheduled or held remotely. Please contact the judicial assistant of the presiding judge for specific information regarding your hearing.
Which hearings are considered essential?
- First appearances
- Criminal arraignments
- Bail hearings
- Persons seeking emergency injunctions for protection
- Juvenile dependency shelter hearings
- Delinquency detention hearings
- Baker Act hearings
- Marchman Act hearings
- Guardianship hearings
- Petitions for extraordinary writs to protect constitutional rights
- Critical proceedings related to the state of emergency or the public health emergency, including but not limited to: violation of quarantine or isolation, orders to limit travel, orders to close public or private buildings, and curfew orders
Which courthouses are conducting essential proceedings?
Only the Thomas S. Kirk Juvenile Justice Center, the Book and Release Center, and the courthouses in Orange and Osceola County are holding essential proceedings. The outlying courthouses in Apopka, Winter Park, and Ocoee are currently closed. All hearings at these courthouses will be rescheduled. Please contact the Clerk of Courts for updates:
Who is allowed into the courthouse?
In-person access to the courthouse is restricted to individuals seeking or involved in essential hearings or individuals needing services provided by the Clerk of Courts. For public safety reasons, persons entering the courthouse will undergo a health and wellness check and, if cleared, will be directed to the proper location.
Which hearings have been postponed?
- All proceedings at the Apopka, Ocoee, and Winter Park courthouses
- All criminal proceedings at the Orange and the Osceola County courthouses
Please contact the judicial assistant of the presiding judge for details regarding rescheduling.
When will my hearing be rescheduled?
Each division is handling their dockets differently. Hearings are either being held remotely or being postponed until full access to the courthouses is restored. Rescheduling hearings depends on the feasibility of holding the proceedings remotely and the length of time access to the courthouse remains restricted. You will receive notification regarding the status of your hearing in the mail once a new date is set.
How is the court handling Jury trials?
The Ninth Circuit suspended jury trials until February 12, 2021. We continue to follow the Florida Supreme Court administrative order AOSC20-23, and continue to take every precaution necessary to safeguard the health and wellbeing of everyone entering the courts – from jurors to court users to staff. Everyone entering the courthouse must wear a mask, submit to a health screening that includes a temperature check, and practice social distancing. We are summonsing smaller groups for jury service to ensure there is more than enough space to maintain a 6-foot distance. For up-to-date information on the pandemic’s impact on the courts and jury service, please follow the Circuit on Twitter and Facebook (@NinthCircuitFL).
How is the court handling initial appearances?
Initial appearances are being held socially distanced, in separate courtrooms, at the Orange County Booking and Release Center and between the Osceola County Jail and the Osceola County Courthouse.
How can I file with the court?
To file an order for protection (injunction), you need to either come to the Orange or the Osceola County courthouses or file electronically via the State of Florida e-portal.
To file for divorce or file a small claims action, or to apply for a passport or marriage license, etc., please visit the following Clerks’ websites:
How can I pay my fine?
While access to the courthouses is restricted, payments to the Clerk of Courts can be made online at the following webpages:
Are you still holding events?
All 2020 group tours and court-related events either have been canceled or will be held remotely. Please follow the Circuit on Twitter or Facebook (@NinthCircuitFL) for the latest event information.
I was previously scheduled, am I required to report for jury duty?
For updated information regarding jury service reporting requirements, please visit https://www.ninthcircuit.org/jurors
Is the media able to attend and record court proceedings?
Yes. Members of the media with court-issued credentials may continue to cover court proceedings at the Orange and the Osceola County courthouses. If a member of the media would like to attend a virtual proceeding, please email Julio Semino at firstname.lastname@example.org for the access link.
For high-profile cases or cases garnering wide Media and public interest, the proceedings will be streamed live on 9th Now. You can access 9th Now via it's website – https://9thnow.lightcast.com – or via the 9th Now app on your TV, tablet, or phone.
To receive the initial appearances feed, the Media may plug in to the media pedestal at the respective courthouses.
What is the best way to get ongoing information?
The easiest and fastest way to keep up to date with changes at the Circuit is to follow us on Twitter or Facebook - @NinthCirctuitFL.