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Hillsborough County Judges

County Court Judges in Hillsborough County

After an arrest for a misdemeanor offense in Hillsborough County, FL, it is easy to determine which judge will be assigned to your case. Because many of our clients are interested in finding out as much information as possible about the process, we created this article about the County Court judges in Hillsborough County, FL.

How will the judge in your criminal case be assigned?

The courts use administrative orders to announce their procedures. Chief Judge Ronald N. Ficarrotta, of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, recently filed Administrative Order 2015-071 for criminal procedures in Hillsborough County. The new administrative order sets out the new county criminal division procedures and judicial assignments for Hillsborough County and other changes to the criminal procedural rules in county court. 

Listed below are the assignments for the County Court Criminal Division, effective March 1, 2016. In Hillsborough County, there are ten criminal divisions of County Court, including First Appearance / Emergency Division “O.” Divisions “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” “E,” “F,” “G,” and “O” are in Tampa, FL. Division “P” and “X” are in Plant City, FL.


Judicial Assignments for Misdemeanor Offenses in Tampa, FL

Except for domestic violence criminal offenses, all misdemeanor offenses and criminal traffic offenses in which the offense occurred outside of the East Division boundaries will be assigned to a county criminal division according to the first letter of the defendant’s last name.

When a notice to appear, criminal report affidavit or information is filed, the clerk will assign the case according to the following alphabetical distribution:

Division “A” - The Honorable Miriam Valkenburg

First Letter of Defendant’s Last Name - G, O, S, U

Division “B” - The Honorable Eric R. Myers, Judge -

First Letter of Defendant’s Last Name - B, F, P

Division “C” - The Honorable Scott A. Farr, Judge -

First Letter of Defendant’s Last Name - D, M, N, X, Y

Division “D” - The Honorable Lawrence M. Lefler, Judge -

First Letter of Defendant’s Last Name - C, K, R

Division “E” - the Honorable John N. Conrad, Judge - 

First Letter of Defendant’s Last Name - H, L, W

Division “G” - The Honorable Paul T. Jeske, Judge -

First Letter of Defendant’s Last Name - A, E, J, I, Q, T, V, Z

All Domestic Violence Cases go to Division "F" with The Honorable Jennifer X. Gabbard, Judge.

All First Appearance Cases go to Division "O" with  The Honorable Margaret R. Taylor, Judge.


Judicial Assignment for Misdemeanor Offenses in Plant City, FL

The Plant City Courthouse serves Plant City, Sun City Center, Seffner, Fish Hawk, Bloomingdale and surrounding areas in the eastern part of Hillsborough County, FL. All misdemeanor offenses and criminal traffic offenses in which the offense occurred within the East Division boundaries will be assigned to East County Criminal Division “P” or “X” based on the first letter of the defendant’s last name.

If the first letter of the defendant’s last name is “A” through “L,” the case will be assigned to East County Division “P.” If the first letter of the defendant’s last name if “M” through “Z,” the case will be assigned to East County Division “X.”

Division “P” - The Honorable Art E. McNeil, Judge -

First Letter of Defendant's Last Name - A - L

Division “X” - The Honorable Richard A. Weis, Judge.

First Letter of Defendant's Last Name - M - Z

Administrative Order S-2013-033 (East Division) sets out the geographical boundaries of the East Division. It provides that for purposes of circuit and county court jurisdiction, the East Division consist of the following described area of Hillsborough County:

All that part of Hillsborough County lying within the following boundaries:

  • From the boundary line of Hillsborough and Pasco Counties south on U.S. 301 to the first time U.S. 301 intersects I-75;
  • south on I-75 to the Alafia River;
  • east along the Alfia River to CR 640;
  • east along CR 640 to SR 39;
  • south on SR 39 to the boundary line of Hillsborough and Manatee Counties;
  • east along the boundary line of Hillsborough and Manatee Counties to the boundary line of Hillsborough and Polk Counties;
  • north along the boundary line of Hillsborough and Polk Counties to the boundary line of Hillsborough and Pasco Counties;
  • west along the boundary line of Hillsborough and Pasco Counties to U.S. 301.

Failure to Appear - Criminal Traffic Violation

The failure of any defendant to appear at the Traffic Violations Bureau within 10 days from the date of issuance of the citation and make disposition of any citation for any criminal traffic violations within Chapter 316, 320, and 322, Florida Statutes, will result in the clerk setting a court date and notifying the defendant.

If the defendant fails to appear at the hearing set by the clerk, the court may issue a failure to appear capias for the arrest of the defendant, together with a Form D-6 (license suspension). 

The capias includes a bond amount to ensure the defendant’s appearance before the court. After you get picked up on the capias, you must post the bond amount before you will be released. 

A capias may be issued when the defendant is a minor, but the minor will be released on the minor’s own recognizance.

Read more about hiring a private attorney to file a motion to quash or withdraw the capias and set a new court date so that you do not have to go into custody. Surrendering at the jail means that another criminal arrest record and mug shot will be created. Regardless of whether you hire a private attorney to help you or whether you surrender on the capias at the jail, act quickly.

In Hillsborough County, officers act quickly to serve the outstanding capias at your home or place of business. If you have an outstanding capias - call an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500.


Domestic Violence Criminal Offenses in Hillsborough County, FL

All domestic violence cases in Hillsborough County, FL, that involve defendants domiciled outside of the East Division boundaries will be assigned to Division “F.” 

If a defendant who has a domestic violence case pending or who is on probation in Division “F” or East County Criminal Division “P” or “X” is subsequently charged with a new misdemeanor charge that is not a domestic violence case, the new misdemeanor charged will be assigned to a county criminal division according to the assignment procedures in this administrative order.

If a defendant is on probation in a division other than Division “F” or East County Criminal Division “P” or “X” and is subsequently charged with a domestic violence case, the clerk will file the domestic violence case in Division “F” or East County Division “P” or “X” and the probation case will remain the division in which it is pending.


Role of the Judge in Hillsborough County, FL

The role of the County Court Judges in Hillsborough County is to oversee the courtroom proceedings in a criminal case that will render a result that is based on an impartial and fair assessment of the evidence presented. 

Before the trial, the judge may be asked to rule on pre-trial motions filed by the defense attorney such as a motion to suppress evidence or a motion to dismiss the criminal charge.

During a jury trial, the role of the judge is to ensure that procedural rules are strictly followed and to encourage the jury to make a fair and neutral determination after applying the applicable Florida laws. 

The judge is also responsible for sentencing the person accused if the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest or if a guilty verdict is returned after a trial. For individuals sentenced to probation, the judge will preside over any violation of probation hearing or a motion to terminate probation early. 

In the event the charges are dropped or dismissed, the person accused can petition to have their record sealed or expunged. The judge will also determine if such relief will be granted.


For more information about the judicial assignments in County Court for Hillsborough County in either Tampa or Plant City - visit the Hillsborough County Judicial Directory for County Court Judges for more information.

You can also click here to see a picture of the county court judges in Hillsborough County.

Read more about the recent 2015 Judicial Survey Results for Judges in Hillsborough County, FL.


Criminal Defense Attorneys for Hillsborough County, FL

Contact a DUI Lawyer in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, to discuss the particular facts of your case. Our criminal defense attorneys focus on drunk driving cases throughout Hillsborough County, FL, including cases at both the Tampa and Plant City Courthouse.

Our offices are in downtown Tampa, just a short distance from the courthouse. Call us today for a free consultation at 813-250-0500. Let us put our experience to work for you. 


This article was last updated on Monday, February 13, 2017.