PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — In an effort to keep law enforcement and the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic, the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit is implementing new policies.
One of those policies includes a temporary halt to writs of possession procedures like evictions.
The moratorium is being imposed in all counties within the Fourteenth Circuit, which includes Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties.
Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said although the new policies are temporary, he understands the need for them in order to keep residents safe during the public health emergency.
“I think due to the times that we are in, the court is being compassionate with people,” said Ford. “People may have lost their jobs. It’s just not a good time to be doing that.”
See below for all the new policies being implemented:
- Until further order, all in-person hearings have been suspended.
- Until further order, all jury trials and grand jury proceedings are suspended. Some non- critical proceedings that cannot be done telephonically or by video are suspended and continued.
- A circuit-wide moratorium is imposed on in-person foreclosure sales.
- A circuit-wide moratorium is imposed on the service of writs of possession.
- All judges in the circuit are designated as juvenile judges along with their regular duties to ensure the prompt disposition of juvenile detention matters.
- For at-risk children, the Court has adopted a policy of electronic parent-child visitations in keeping with Florida law.
- For individuals ordered into State-mandated counseling, all in-person counseling is suspended, and counseling shall continue utilizing electronic means.