The Florida Bar's Juvenile Court Rules Committee has filed an out-of-cycle petition to amend the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure to conform the rules to the Florida Statutes in light of amendments made by the 2004 legislature.
The court invites all interested persons to comment on the committee's proposed amendments, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at www.flcourts.org/sct/setdocs/proposed.html. An original and nine copies of all comments must be filed with the court on or before November 1, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on the committee chair, Deborah Aim Schroth, Florida Legal Services, Inc., 126 West Adams Street, Suite 502, Jacksonville 32202-3849, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument which may be scheduled in this case. All comments must be filed in paper format and in WordPerfect 5.1 (or higher) format on a DOS formatted 3-1/2 inch diskette.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF JUVENILE PROCEDURE, CASE NO. SC04-1653 RULE 8.041 WITNESS ATTENDANCE AND SUBPOENAS
(a) Attendance. A witness summoned by a subpoena in an adjudicatory hearing shall remain in attendance at the adjudicatory hearing until excused by the court or by both parties. A witness who departs without being excused properly may be held in criminal contempt of court.
(b) Subpoenas Generally.
(1) Subpoenas for testimony before the court and subpoenas for production of tangible evidence before the court may be issued by the clerk of the court, by any attorney of record in an action, or by the court on its own motion.
(2) Except as otherwise required by this rule. the procedure for issuance of a subpoena (except for a subpoena daces tecum) by an attorney of record in a proceeding shall be as provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
(c) Subpoenas for Testimony or Production of Tangible Evidence. (1) Every subpoena for testimony or production of tangible evidence before the court shall be issued by an attorney of record in an action or by the clerk under the seal of the court. The subpoena shall state the name of the court and the title of the action and shall command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony or produce evidence at a time and place specified.
(2) On oral request of an attorney of record, and without a witness praecipe, the clerk shall issue a subpoena for testimony before the court or a subpoena for tangible evidence before the court. The subpoena shall be signed and sealed but otherwise blank, both as to the title of the action and the name of the person to whom it is directed. The subpoena shall be filled in before service by the attorney.
(d) Subpoenas for Production of Tangible Evidence. If a subpoena commands the person to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents, or tangible things designated in it, the court, on motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance with it, may
(1) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive, or
(2) condition denial of the motion on the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things.
RULE 8.225. PROCESS, DILIGENT SEARCHES, AND SERVICE OF PLEADINGS AND PAPERS
(a) Summons and Subpoenas.
(1) Summons. Upon the filing of a dependency petition, the clerk shall issue a summons. The summons shall require the person on whom it is served to appear for a hearing at a time and place specified not less than 72 hours after service of the summons. A copy of the petition shall be attached to the summons.
(2) Subpoenas. Subpoenas for testimony before the court, for production of tangible evidence, and for taking depositions shaft be issued by the clerk of the court, the court on its own motion, or any attorney of record for a party. Subpoenas may be served within the state by any person over 1 g years of age who is not a party to the proceeding. In dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings, subpoenas also may also be served by authorized agents of the department or the guardian ad litem. Except as otherwise required by this rule. the procedure for issuance of a subpoena by an attorney of record in a proceeding shall be as provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
(3) Service of Summons and Other Process to Persons Residing in the State. The summons and other process shall be served upon all parties other than the petitioner as required by law. The summons and other process may be served by authorized agents of the department or the guardian ed litem.
(A) Service by publication shall not be required for dependency hearings and shall be required only for service of summons in a termination of parental rights proceeding for parents whose identities are known but whose whereabouts cannot be determined despite a diligent search. Service by publication in these circumstances shall be considered valid service,
(B) The failure to serve a party or give notice to a participant in a dependency heating shall not affect the validity of an order of adjudication or disposition ff the court finds that the petitioner has completed a diligent search that failed to ascertain the identity or location of that patty.
(C) Personal appearance of any person in a hearing before the court eliminates the requirement for serving process upon that person.
(4) Service of Summons and Other Process to Persons Residing Outside of the State in Dependency Preceedings.
(A) Service of the summons and other process on parents, parties, participants, petitioners, or persons outside this state shall be in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice, and may be made:
(i) by personal delivery outside this state in a manner prescribed for service of process within this state;
(ii) in a manner prescribed by the law of the place in which service is made for service of profess in that place in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction;
(iii) by any form of mail addressed to the person to be served and requesting a receipt; or
(iv) as directed by the court. Service by publication shall not be required for dependency hearings.
(B) Notice under this rule shall be served, mailed, delivered, or last published at least 20 days before any hearing in this state.
(C) Proof of service outside this state may be made by affidavit of the person who made the service or in the manner prescribed by the law of this state, the order pursuant to which the service is made, or the law of the place in which the service is made. If service is made by mail, proof may be in a receipt signed by the addressee or other evidence of delivery to the addressee.
(D) Personal appearance of any person in a hearing before the court eliminates the requirement for serving process upon that person.
(b) Paternity Inquiry and Diligent Search.
(1) Identity Unknown. If the identity of a parent is unknown, and a petition for dependency, shelter care, or termination of parental rights is filed, the court shall conduct the inquiry required by law. The information required by law may be submitted to the court in the form of a sworn affidavit executed by a person having personal knowledge of the facts.
(2) Location Unknown. If the location of a parent is unknown and that parent has not filed a permanent address designation with the court, the petitioner shall undertake a diligent search as required by law.
(3) Affidavit of Diligent Search. If the location of a parent is unknown after the diligent search has been completed, the petitioner shall file with the court an affidavit of diligent search executed by the person who made the search and inquiry.
(4) Continuing Duty. After filing an affidavit of diligent search in a dependency or termination of parental rights proceeding, the petitioner, and, if the court requires, the department, axe under a continuing duty to search for and attempt to serve the parent whose location is unknown until excused from further diligent search by the court. The department shall report on the results of the continuing search at each court hearing until the person is located or until further search is excused by the court.
(5) Effect of Paternity Inquiry and Diligent Search.
(A) Failure to serve parents whose identity or residence is unknown shall not affect the validity of an order of adjudication or disposition if the court finds the petitioner has completed a diligent search.
(B) If the court inquiry fails to identify any person as a parent or prospective parent, the court shall so find and may proceed without further notice.
(C) If the inquiry, diligent search, or subsequent search identifies and locates any person who may be a parent or prospective parent, the court shall require notice of the hearing to be provided to that person. That person must then be given an opportunity to become a party to the proceedings by completing a sworn affidavit of parenthood and filing it with the court or the department.
(c) Notice and Service of Pleadings and Papers.
(1) Notice of Arraignment Hearings in Dependency Cases. Notice of the...