WHEREAS, many matters involving probate, guardianship, mental health, trusts, substance abuse and adult protective services are brought before the Probate, Guardianship and Trust Division of this court; and
WHEREAS, the interests of the public and of the litigations require flexible and speedy resolution of such matters; and
WHEREAS, Florida Statutes section 29.004 (2009) provides, for the purpose of implementing section 14, Article V. of the Florida Constitution, the appointment of “general magistrates, special magistrates and hearing officers”; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary for the prompt and efficient administration of justice in this circuit to appoint a general magistrate to hear and consider probate, guardianship, mental health, trust, substance abuse cases and adult protective services proceedings and promptly return recommendations in these cases and to assist the circuit court judge regularly assigned to the Probate, Guardianship and Trust Division in the review of guardianship inventories, accountings and plans.
By the power vested in me under Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215(b)(2), it is therefore ORDERED:
Deborah A. DeNike is hereby appointed as general magistrate of the Probate, Guardianship and Trust Division to conduct probate, guardianship, mental health, trust, substance abuse and adult protective services proceedings. The general magistrate will serve without bond.
2. Referral to General Magistrate:
Upon the request of the presiding judge, the general magistrate will review guardianship inventories, accountings and plans without an order of referral. See Fla.Prob.R. 5.697. Upon the filing of any other matter that may be referred to the general magistrate, an order of referral will be entered. The party filing the action shall submit a proposed order of referral to the judge to which the case is assigned. Any objection to a referral should be in writing and filed within ten (10) days of the date of service of the order of referral. If an objection is filed, the matter will be heard by the presiding judge. When a case is referred to the general magistrate, any party may set the action for hearing before the general magistrate.
The general magistrate will proceed with the hearings and the preparation and filing of reports in the manner set out in Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.490 or Florida Probate Rules 5.095 or 5.697.
4. Recording of Proceedings:
All proceedings conducted by the general magistrate will be electronically recorded, Except for recordings of Baker Act proceedings, all recordings will be maintained by the general magistrate or her designee(s). Recordings of Baker Act proceedings will be maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Probate, Guardianship and Trust Division.
5. Previous Administrative Orders Superseded:
This Administrative order supersedes Administrative Order No. 2004-025 (General Magistrate for Probate, Trust, Guardianship and Mental Health Cases) and Administrative Order No. 2004-026 (Order Appointing General Magistrate For The Third Judicial Circuit).
DONE AND ORDERED in chambers at Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida this 19th day of February, 2010.