In several felony trial courts, the clerk of the court is chosen through an election process (Hogan, 2006). Similarly, most of the jurisdictions fill their court administrators through the appointment. In several states, judges are either appointed or chosen through an election process.
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Notably, every court is presided over by a chief judge. In this article, the administration of the state of Florida’s felony court system is analyzed. Through this, an analysis of the responsibilities of the positions identified will be highlighted. Similarly, the article will provide more information about how the job performance of each position is evaluated. Additional information about the sources of disagreement between the chief administrators will also be identified.
In Florida, the court system comprises the Supreme Court, District Courts of Appeal, And the Trial Courts (Das, 2014). A chief judge heads the trial courts in Florida. To be qualified as a judge, an individual ought to be a listed voter and reside in the region. Similarly, the judges ought to have been practicing law in Florida for not less than five years. The judges are chosen through an election process. As such, voters within their jurisdictions elect them into offices.
The elections are free and fair (Hogan, 2006). Nevertheless, whenever a vacancy presents itself before the end of a chosen adjudicator’s term, the position is filled with the help of the judiciary committee. The elected judges preside over their courts for six years. Thereafter, they are required to be vetted by the public through an election. On the election, the public members will decide if the judge fits to be retained in office. Whenever, the members of the public vote against the retention of the judge, the governor is required to appoint another judge to fill the position. The appointed judge is picked from a list prepared by the judicial commission (Hogan, 2006).
The method used by Florida in choosing trial judges is appropriate. Elected judges work without impartiality, unlike the appointed judges. When judges are appointed, they work to fulfill the interest of those who appointed them. However, when the members of the public elect them, they work to meet the public interest.
As the chief administrator of the trial courts, the chief judges play many functions. They interpret the decrees, review the verification presented, and are in charge of how investigations and assessments unfold in their courtrooms. Notably, these judges are independent decision-makers in their courtrooms (Hogan, 2006).
The Judicial Qualifications Commission evaluates the functions of court judges in Florida (Hogan, 2006). The commission appraises cases concerning claimed misbehavior by trial judges or unintentional withdrawal of a jury owing to severe illness. The commission was created by the state’s constitution. As such, the commission operates independently. It is not a part of the state’s judicial system. It functions under the regulations it institutes for itself. The commission has no power over federal adjudicators. Grievances against state adjudicators must be presented to the commission in writing.
Other powerful administrators in Florida’s courts are the clerks (Hogan, 2006). The clerks are considered as public officers. They derive their position out of a lawful and fair election. Their duties have been prescribed in the Florida constitution. In Florida, a trial court clerk should have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. Similarly, the candidate should have over three years of experience in a related area.
The candidates are required to be highly prepared, have knowledge of office technology and its applications, and must be effective communicators (Hogan, 2006). Also, they must be able to relate to the members of the public effectively. Having met the above qualifications, the candidates are chosen for office through an election process. Once elected into the office, Florida trial court clerks served for four years (Hogan, 2006).
Upon their completion of the term, the officers face another election to determine their suitability. The method used by Florida in choosing trial clerks is appropriate. Elected clerks work without impartiality, unlike the appointed clerks. Elected clerks are more efficient because the members of the public will renew their contracts at the end of their terms based on their performance. On the contrary, clerks are appointed they work to fulfill the interest of those who appointed them.
Florida trial court clerks are the guardian of all proceedings and documents filed in the trial courts. They are required to be present at every court session, document accusations, file information, and rulings, process court issues, set up records before the court of appeals, supervise jury selection, collect payments for fines, pay out judicial funds, and oversee the processing of penalties and forfeitures (Hogan, 2006).
Florida Clerk of Courts evaluates the conduct of trial court clerks. The body assesses allegations against the clerks (Hogan, 2006). When necessary the body carries out hearings to determine the alleged misconduct. Possible penalties for misbehavior vary from private warnings to the proposal of removal from the organization.
Based on the above analysis, it is apparent that Florida trial judges and clerks have distinct functions. However, it should be noted that sometimes differences arise between the two administrators (Das, 2014). The differences are largely blamed on personal differences. For instance, a law clerk might be required to advise a judge about a certain case to end a case. On the contrary, the judge might assume that the clerk is incompetent to offer the advice. Through such personal differences, disagreements occur.
Das, D. K. (2014). Trends in judiciary: interviews with judges across the globe.. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
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Hogan, S. O. (2006). The judicial branch of state government people, process, and politics. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press.