Noting that setting bond essentially would nullify the intent of COVID-19 emergency provisions, Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino today ordered bond suspended for violations of quarantine or isolation constraints.
"Due to the danger to the public health for such a violation," the Chief Judge wrote, "the bond shall initially be set at ’no bond.’ "
Under the order, judges presiding at first appearance hearings will retain the ability to alter the "no bond" status if appropriate. Moreover, the provision allows assigned or duty judges to "address other emergency relief, if the circumstances warrant it."
Read the complete order below.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR PASCO AND PINELLAS COUNTIES, FLORIDA
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2020-009 PA/PI-CIR
RE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC (COVID-19) - NO BOND FOR QUARANTINE/ISOLATION VIOLATION
Due to concerns regarding the spread and treatment of the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, on March 1, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed executive order 20-51, declaring a public health emergency in the State of Florida. On March 13, 2020, the Florida Supreme Court issued AOSC20-346 amending the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court has issued Administrative Orders Nos. AOSC20-12, AOSC20-13, AOSC20-15, AOSC20-16, and AOSC20-17, regarding mitigating the impact of the Coronavirus on courts.
Both Florida law and the Florida Rules of Court authorize a chief judge to remove a condition of bail or reduce the amount of bond set for a pretrial detainee. See section 903.02(2)(b), Florida Statutes, and Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.131(d). Based on the public health emergency that exists in the State of Florida as a result of the spread of COVID-19, it is necessary to establish emergency procedures to address the release of certain pretrial detainees from the custody of the Pasco County jail and Pinellas County jail.
By the power vested in the chief judge under Article V, section 2(d), Florida Constitution, Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, and section 43.26, Florida Statutes,
IT IS ORDERED:
1. While the State of Florida remains under a declared public health emergency for COVID-19, any person who violates any rule adopted under section 381.00315, Fla. Stat., any isolation or quarantine, or any requirement adopted by the Department of Health in accordance with a declared public health emergency, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. When any person is arrested for a violation of section 381.00315, Fla. Stat., who is “reasonably believed to be infected” with the coronavirus or who is “reasonably believed to have been exposed” that violation is presumed to involve a danger to the public health.
2. Due to the danger to the public health for such a violation, the bond shall initially be set at “no bond.” See Varholy v. Sweat, 15 So. 2d 267 (Fla. 1943) stating “To grant release on bail to persons isolated and detained on a quarantine order because they have a contagious disease which makes them dangerous to others, or to the public in general, would render quarantine laws and regulations nugatory and of no avail.” This provision does not preclude the judge presiding at first appearance hearings from modifying the “no bond” status if appropriate. This provision also does not preclude the assigned judge or duty judge from addressing other emergency relief, if the circumstances warrant it.
3. The arresting officer in such cases shall notify the jail that the arrested person is or may be infected before bringing such person into any jail facility. The booking staff shall engage in appropriate measures for receiving and holding such person in order to avoid the potential transmission of the disease within the facility.
This Administrative Order supplements Administrative Order Nos. 2018-019 and 2018-020. All provisions of both Administrative Order 2018-019 and Administrative Order 2018-020 remain in full force and effect except where inconsistent with this Administrative Order.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, this ______ day of March 2020.
ORIGINAL SIGNED ON MARCH 27, 2020
BY ANTHONY RONDOLINO, CHIEF JUDGE