Sunday, December 16, 2007

Certiorari - Know Your Local Rules!

Byle v. Pasco County, --- So.2d -----, 32 Fla. L. Weekly D2450 (Fla. 2d DCA Oct. 12, 2007).
Jimenez v. Eloise Rateni, --- So.2d ---, 32 Fla. L. Weekly D2674 (Fla. 2d DCA Nov. 9, 2007).

Both of these cases involve violations of local rules by the circuit court in dealing with cert petitions. In Byle, the local rules call for a three-judge panel, but a single judge dismissed his petition for cert based on lack of standing. The Second District held that “Because the Sixth Judicial Circuit has promulgated a rule requiring three-judge panels to decide petitions seeking review of admininstrative action, Byle was deprived of procedural due process when a single judge ruled on his petition.”

In Jimenez, the local rules in the 12th Circuit provide that “all county court civil appeals shall be randomly assigned to lettered divisions of the Civil Division.” The lettered divisions in the 12th Circuit consequently go through all three counties in the circuit, and the petitioner claimed that the appeals filed in any given county had to be randomly assigned to a judge in a civil division, regardless of which county the judge was assigned to. The Chief Judge disagreed, interpreting the rule to be limited by the filing county. The Second District agreed with the petitioner that the language of the local rule requires a random assignment to any judge in the circuit, and that the denial of the right to such a random assignment was material harm that was irreparable on later review.

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