The Florida Supreme Court's Criminal Court Steering Committee has submitted to the court proposed rules of procedure for "Jimmy Ryce" proceedings, which the committee has titled the "Florida Rules of Civil Procedure for Involuntary Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators." The court invites all interested persons to comment on the committee's proposed rules, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/proposed.shtml. An original and nine paper copies of all comments must be filed with the court on or before September 2, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on Judge O. H. Eaton, Jr., committee chair, c/o Les Garringer, Office of the General Counsel, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee 32399-1925, 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.
The committee chair has until October 1, to file a response to any comments filed with the court. Electronic copies of all comments also must be filed in accordance with the court's administrative order In re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004).
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA
IN RE: FLORIDA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE FOR INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS, CASE NO. SC08-998
FLORIDA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE FOR INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT OF SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS
RULE 4.010. SCOPE AND TITLE OF RULES
These rules shall apply to all civil actions filed in the circuit courts of the State of Florida pursuant to part V, chapter 394, Florida Statutes. These rules shall be known as the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure for Involuntary Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators and abbreviated as Fla. R. Civ. P. - S.V.P.
RULE 4.030. NONVERIFICATION OF PLEADINGS
Every written pleading or other paper of a party represented by an attorney need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit except when otherwise specifically provided by these rules or an applicable statute.
RULE 4.040. PARTIES
The State of Florida shall be the petitioner in actions brought under these rules. Any person who is alleged to be a sexually violent predator shall be designated as the respondent.
RULE 4.050. COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION/RESPONSIBILITY OF CLERK TO NOTIFY PRESIDING COURT/PROBABLE CAUSE FINDING
Every action brought pursuant to these rules shall be deemed commenced when the state attorney files a petition on behalf of the State of Florida with the clerk of the court setting forth a cause of action alleging that the respondent is in total confinement, is a sexually violent predator, and stating sufficient facts to support the allegations. The petition must be verified or accompanied by an affidavit containing sworn proof of the matters contained in the petition. The clerk of the court shall immediately deliver the petition to the assigned judge, or in the absence of the assigned judge, to any circuit judge, who shall review the petition and determine if the petition states probable cause. An order finding probable cause shall be entered if the petition is sufficient on its face. The order shall direct the respondent to be transferred to a secure facility pending resolution of the petition if the sentence being served expires before the action is completed and shall appoint counsel for the respondent pursuant to Rule 4.200(a). An order denying the petition shall be entered if the petition is insufficient on its face. The order shall allow the state attorney an opportunity to amend the petition within ten days. No filing fee shall be assessed for filing the petition.
RULE 4.060. VENUE AND TRANSFERS OF ACTIONS
Venue for bringing a petition under Part V, chapter 394, Florida Statutes, shall be in the county (1) where the respondent was last charged and convicted of a qualifying offense; (2) if the person has never been convicted of a qualifying offense in this state but has been convicted of such an offense in another state or in federal court, in the county where the person was last convicted of any offense in this state; or (3) if the person is being confined in this state pursuant to interstate compact and has a prior or current conviction for a sexually violent offense, the county where the person plans to reside upon release or, if no residence in this state is planned, the county where the facility from which the person to be released is located. If it should appear at any time that the action is pending in the wrong county it may be transferred by motion of any party or on motion by the court.
RULE 4.070. PROCESS
(a) Issuance. The clerk of the court shall issue a summons, a copy of the petition, any accompanying affidavits, and a copy of the order finding probable cause to the respondent upon receipt of an order finding probable cause signed by a circuit judge. The summons shall direct the respondent to file an answer to the petition within ten days after the date of service. The State Attorney shall serve a copy of the petition and related documents upon the attorney appointed to represent the respondent pursuant to Rule 4.080. The finding of probable cause shall not become effective until the summons is returned served and filed with the clerk of the court.
(b) Service; By Whom Made. The state attorney shall electronically transmit a copy of the summons, petition, any accompanying affidavits, and the order finding probable cause to the person in charge of the facility in which the respondent is confined. The person in charge of the facility shall serve a printed copy of the summons, the petition, any accompanying affidavits, and order finding probable cause on the respondent within 24 hours after receiving it and before the respondent is transferred to a secure facility. The person in charge of the facility in which the respondent is confined shall make a return on the summons within 24 hours after making service, by electronically confirming to the state attorney that service has been made. The state attorney shall file a printed copy of the return with the clerk, along with the summons, within 24 hours after receiving it. Additional process may be issued as in other civil actions.
RULE 4.080. SERVICE OF PLEADINGS AND PAPERS
(a) Service; When Required. Unless the court otherwise orders, every pleading subsequent to the initial pleading and every other paper filed in the action, except applications for a witness subpoena, shall be served on the opposing party.
(b) Service of Subsequent Pleadings Other Than Original Petition; How Made. When service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney, service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party is ordered by the court. Service on the attorney or party shall be made by delivering a copy or mailing it to the attorney or the party, or as provided in 4.070(b).
(c) Service by Electronic Mail. Service by electronic mail shall be permitted if all parties or their counsel file with the clerk of the court a written agreement that such service is acceptable. The agreement shall set forth the method of service and provide e-mail addresses or facsimile numbers. The original pleadings shall be filed with the clerk with the counsel's attestation of the time of electronic service.
RULE 4.090. TIME
(a) Computation. In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these rules, by order of court, or by any applicable statute, the day of the act, event, or default from which the designated period of time begins to run, shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period shall run until the end of the next day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than 7 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays shall be excluded in the computation.
(b) Enlargement. When an act is required or allowed to be done at or within a specified time by order of court, by these rules, or by notice given there under, for cause shown, the court at any time in its discretion
(1) with or without notice, may order the period enlarged if request therefore is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed or as extended by a previous order, or (2) upon motion made and notice after the expiration of the specified period, may permit the act to be done when failure to act was the result of excusable neglect, but it may not extend the time for making a motion for new trial, for rehearing, or to alter or amend a judgment.
RULE 4.100. PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS
(a) Pleadings: There shall be a petition and an answer to it. The answer shall set forth any affirmative defense to the petition, including the failure of the petition to state a cause of action. No other pleadings shall be allowed. All pleadings shall comply with the rules governing pleadings in other civil actions. (Rules 1.100 and 1.110, Fla. R. Civ. P.)
(b) Motions. An application to the court for an order shall be by motion which shall be made in writing unless made during a hearing or trial, shall state with particularity the grounds therefore, and shall set forth the relief or order sought. The requirement of writing is fulfilled if the motion is stated in a written notice of the hearing of the motion. All notices of hearing shall specify each motion or other matter to be heard.
(c) Caption. Every pleading, motion, order, judgment, or other paper shall have a caption containing the name of the court, the uniform case number, the name of the party on each side, and a designation identifying the party filing it and its nature or the nature of the order, as the case may be. All papers filed in the action shall be styled in such a manner as to indicate clearly the subject matter of the paper and the...