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2013 Court News Events

The Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA) provides information and brief write-ups about newsworthy events happening in and around the Florida court system. 

News & Initiatives


Annual Report Released

Posted December 26, 2013


John Tomasino Sworn In As New Supreme Court Clerk of Court November 4, 2013 

John Tomasino is sworn in as the new Clerk of the Supreme Court by Chief Justice Ricky Polston

Posted November 7, 2013

John A. Tomasino was sworn in as the new Supreme Court Clerk of Court just prior to Oral Arguments held in the courtroom on Monday, November 4, 2013. Mr. Tomasino succeeds Tom Hall, who retired in October, 2013, and who had been Clerk for thirteen years.

Chief Justice Ricky Polston performed the swearing-in at the ceremony, while Mr. Tomasino's wife, Kathy Butler, looked on. Mr. Tomasino assumed his new role as Clerk in the courtroom immediately following the ceremony.

Also, read the Press Release issued by the Public Information Office and visit the Supreme Court Clerk's page.

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Clerk of the Court, Tom Hall, Retires after 13 Years of Service at the Supreme Court

Posted October 11, 2013

A retirement ceremony was held at the Florida Supreme Court for Tom Hall, the 20th Clerk of the Court, on October 9 in the Courtroom. Mr Hall was appointed as Clerk in May, 2000. Together, with past work at the First and Third District Courts of Appeal, he has given 25 years of service to Florida's court system.

Key in his Supreme Court work as Clerk of the Court, Mr. Hall was quickly dealing with crucial issues as Bush v. Gore unfolded in his first year as clerk. Interestingly, he leaves after having worked through the technologically important launch of the mandated e-filing measure that began in early 2013.

Mr. Hall has received the prestigious James Adkins Award in 2009 (Appellate Practice Section, Florida Bar) and the 2012 J.O. Sentell Award (National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks) after having served as the group's president from 2008-09.

In addition, Mr. Hall has taught widely in academic, legal and judicial communities in his career.

Beyond the recognition given Tom Hall on October 11, the Supreme Court thanked him with the presentation of a proclamation earlier in 2013.

The Supreme Court Courtroom was filled to capacity for the ceremony, as family, friends and members of the court community came to honor his service.

Read the Full Court Press (page 21) for more about Tom Hall's retirement.

Speakers included former justice Raoul Cantero (L), Justice Barbara Pariente (C), and former justice Major B. Harding (R).

former Justice Raoul Cantero Justice Barbara Pariente Former Chief Justice Major Harding

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Full Court Press Released

Posted March 20, 2013


Court Officials Honored at TCBC Meeting

Posted January 23, 2013

Mike Bridenback receives award from Judge Meg Steinbeck

The Trial Court Budget Commission met on Monday, January 7, in Tallahassee. While the commission addressed issues such as the current fiscal year budget status, committee reports, and supplemental budget requests for the coming legislative session (read the Commission meeting agenda), this commission meeting opened by recognizing and honoring two key court officials.

Judge Francis receives award

Mike Bridenback (photo top left, with presenter Judge Meg Steinbeck at far left), the Trial Court Administrator in the 13th Judicial Circuit, was presented the Kenneth R. Palmer Award of Distinguished Excellence in Judicial Administration, which is an award jointly conferred by the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges and the TCBC.  Mr. Bridenback received this award as a result of extraordinary leadership and commitment to the Florida trial courts.  

Former recipients of the award – which was established to honor Kenneth R. Palmer who served as the Florida State Courts Administrator from 1985 until 2001 - are Lisa Goodner, Florida State Courts Administrator; and Carol Ortman, former Trial Court Administrator in the 17th Circuit. 

In addition, Chief Judge Charles Francis (photo below at near left) of the Second Judicial Circuit, received an award for his dedicated and long-standing service on the commission.  A founding member of the TCBC, Chief Judge Francis served from the establishment of the Commission in November 2000 through November 2012, and also served  as vice-chair of the commission from 2006 to 2010. Chief Judge Francis’s tireless advocacy of adequate, fair, and stable funding for the State Courts System has helped ensure justice for all Floridians.

The judicial branch will continue to benefit from the contributions of Mr. Bridenback and Chief Judge Francis for many years to come. Congratulations are extended to both.

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Florida State Courts System Employees Receive Productivity Awards

by Beth Schwartz

Since 1989, Florida Taxwatch’s Prudential-Davis Productivity Awards Program has been recognizing and rewarding state government employees for their development of cost-effective initiatives that have saved millions of dollars for Florida’s taxpayers and businesses. In 2013, Florida Taxwatch presented a “compilation of the top 25 saving and revenue enhancing award winning achievements from the last 25 years of the Prudential-Davis Productivity Awards.” Included among the top 25 were the First DCA and the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, both of whom were recognized in 2011 for their technology innovations.

The First DCA’s Technology and Programming Development Team (l – r): Mr. David Nelson, systems administrator; Mr. Chris Corzine, systems administrator; former Judge Paul Hawkes; and Mr. Jon Wheeler, clerk of the court.The First DCA’s Technology and Programming Development Team (l – r): Mr. David Nelson, systems administrator; Mr. Chris Corzine, systems administrator; former Judge Paul Hawkes; and Mr. Jon Wheeler, clerk of the court.

The First DCA’s Technology and Programming Development Team received a 2013 Top 25 Adaptable Achievements award for its design, development, and implementation of iDCA/eDCA, a fully electronic solution for the appellate workflow. iDCA/eDCA is closely connected to the court’s existing case management system and includes e-filing, document management, and tasking features designed for the appellate process. It comprises three closely linked sites: Internal DCA (iDCA), which is an internal component for document management for use by judges and law clerks; External DCA (eDCA), which is a portal for the transmittal of all filings with the court (and also includes access to public digitized documents for those listed as the attorney or party of record as well as e-service of court orders, opinions, etc.); and the Case Review System. iDCA/ eDCA is now successfully deployed at the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth DCAs. 

In addition to reaping substantial time and cost savings, iDCA/eDCA is playing an instrumental role in the court system’s transition to a fully-realized electronic courts structure.

The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit’s Court Technological Innovation Team at the awards ceremony (l – r): Florida State Representative Joseph Abruzzo; Ms Shilpa Vuppalanchi, systems administrator; Mr. Noel Chessman, court technology officer; Judge Peter Evans; and Mr. Jakobie Alexander, systems administrator. The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit’s Court Technological Innovation Team at the awards ceremony (l – r): Florida State Representative Joseph Abruzzo; Ms Shilpa Vuppalanchi, systems administrator; Mr. Noel Chessman, court technology officer; Judge Peter Evans; and Mr. Jakobie Alexander, systems administrator.

The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit’s Court Technological Innovation Team received a 2013 Top 25 Adaptable Achievements award for developing an automated system to process inactive case dispositions. This first-in-the-nation system electronically identifies cases that have been inactive for an extended period, automatically generates court orders signed by judges, and automatically prepares, prints, and mails notices to the parties in the case. This process creates a 93 percent reduction in the labor required to process the disposition of thousands of cases. The hours saved by this process freed up a position, enabling it to be assigned to the criminal case management department to ensure compliance with supreme court time standards, to facilitate the equitable allocation of capital cases among members of the judiciary, and to process post-conviction motions. This system can be adapted to meet the needs of other circuits and any court division. 

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