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DeSoto County Courthouse was built in 1912.

SARASOTA — Two of the three counties that make up the state’s Twelfth Judicial District have entered Phase 2 of court operations, which means the gradual resumption of criminal jury trials.

Sarasota and Manatee counties moved to Phase 2 on Aug. 17. Jury trials can resume 30 days later, so summonses have been sent out for jury selection on Sept. 16.

A news release from the circuit states that only one or two trials will be scheduled in the first few weeks. Most other court functions will continue to be handled remotely or are postponed, pending the transition to Phase 3.

Civil jury trials currently remain suspended through the end of the year. Most mortgage foreclosures and evictions are suspended through Oct. 1.

The courts in DeSoto County are moving a little more slowly, pending input from the health department and county officials.

Admission to the courthouses in Sarasota and Manatee counties is limited to people with official court business, such as a scheduled hearing or appointment. They’re asked not to bring anyone with them.

Prior to entry everyone will undergo a temperature check and a four-question health screening. People with a temperature of more than 100.4 degrees or who answer “yes” to any of the questions will be denied entry and given a new hearing date or appointment.

A mask must be worn at all times in the building. A mask will be provided to people who don’t bring one.

For more information, visit Jud12.flcourts.org.


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