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2015-16 Annual Report

Year in Review

2016 State of the Judiciary
“Courts must have the trust and confidence of the people we serve if we are to fulfill our constitutional role,” Chief Justice Jorge Labarga emphasized in his 2016 State of the Judiciary address.  And the best way to earn trust and confidence, he continued, is to “better inform the public about the judicial branch’s role, mission, and vision” through “improved communication, collaboration, and education efforts….We must make sure that the customers of our court system understand on a daily basis the importance of the Third Branch of government and of the determined efforts we make to achieve justice.” 

In the past, he reflected, the courts relied on traditional news media, primarily newspapers, “to tell our story to the public.”  And for many years, that model was highly effective.  But these days, because most people go elsewhere for their news, the courts have to find other ways to “tell the people of Florida what they need to know about our judiciary.”  So “The bottom line is that we must start telling our own story using every tool at our disposal.”  And that includes “adapting to the twenty-first century’s methods of communicating,” he added.

The Florida State Courts Annual Report, in conjunction with the recently published Short History of Florida State Courts Processes, Programs, and Initiatives, is one of the many tools the branch uses to tell its own story.  The narrative threads that the annual report unwinds are organized around the five long-range issues identified in the Long-Range Strategic Plan for the Florida Judicial Branch: 2016 – 2021.  Long-range issues are defined as the high-priority areas that the branch, in seeking to fulfill its mission and reach toward its vision, must address over the long term.  (This link goes to the branch’s 2016 – 2021 long-range plan.)  The five long-range issues are as follows:

This report, in endeavoring to heighten readers’ knowledge and understanding of the purposes, roles, and responsibilities of Florida’s judicial branch, aspires to bolster people’s trust and confidence in their courts.