by petition for writ of prohibition filed in this Court).Accordingly, we hold that the district court of appeal lackedauthority to review the administrative order assigning Judge Wildto circuit court duty. However, we treat the petition for writ ofprohibition filed in the district court as if it had been filedin this Court
and address the certified question in anattempt to further define the parameters of a proper temporaryassignment under rule 2.050(b)(4).In
we approved an order appointing a countyjudge to act as a circuit judge in DeSoto County "in all mattersof probate, guardianship, incompetency, trusts, proceedings underthe `Florida Mental Health Act' and all juvenile proceedings,dissolutions of marriage, and all uncontested civil matters incircuit court." 274 So.2d at 538. Likewise, in
472 So.2d 1163
(Fla. 1985), we upheld the successiveand repetitive assignment of county court judges to hear allpetitions to enforce child support orders that directed supportpayments to be made through the child support section of thesheriff's office. In addressing whether the assignment wasproper, we explained that an
assignment is "temporary" under rule 2.050(b)(4)if it is not "permanent:""Temporary" is an antonym for "permanent."It is a comparative term. It canbe said that if a duty is not permanent it istemporary. If a county judge is assignedto perform solely circuit court work, theassignment must be for a relatively shorttime for it to be temporary. If a countyjudge is assigned to spend a portion of histime performing circuit work, the assignmentcan be longer, but the assignmentcannot usurp, supplant, or effectively deprivecircuit court jurisdiction of a particulartype of case on a permanent basis.472 So.2d at 1165 (footnotes omitted). Where a county judge isassigned solely to perform circuit court duties, we suggestedthat a sixty-day assignment was acceptable; where the judge isordered to spend only a portion of his time performing circuitcourt work, we suggested that a six-month assignment wasacceptable.
at 1165 nn. 2-3. These time periods weresuggested with the recognition that chief judges must be givenflexibility to effectively utilize available judicial labor.
at 1165.Although the successive assignments at issue in
totalled two-and-one-half years, we upheld them as propertemporary assignments in part because the county judges wereassigned only a limited class of support orders and theassignment was to "supplement and aid the circuit judges ratherthan to replace them."
Shortly after the decision in
this Court wasasked to further define the parameters of a temporary judicialassignment under rule 2.050(b)(4). In
Payret v. Adams,
500 So.2d 136
(Fla. 1986), the Court held that a county courtjudge may not be indefinitely assigned, by successive orders,circuit court duties in a specially created jury district. Thecounty judge in
had been annually reassigned fora five-year period to be the acting circuit judge for a speciallycreated district of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. We noted:Rather than being assigned to aid or assistthe circuit judges in a limited class ofcases, respondent has been assigned tohear all circuit court matters in the Gladesdistrict. Indeed, respondent has concededthat for all intents and purposes, he is thecircuit judge for the Glades district.
at 138. Under the circumstances, this Court held thesuccessive one-year assignments invalid as a de facto permanentassignment.
at 138.These decisions illustrate that whether a judicial assignmentis a proper "temporary" assignment under rule 2.050(b)(4) is notmerely a function of the duration of an individual assignment.The successive nature of the assignment, the type of case coveredby the assignment, and the practical effect of the assignment oncircuit court jurisdiction over a particular type of case alsomust be considered. For example,
illustrates thatsuccessive assignments totalling more than two years may beconsidered temporary if the class of circuit court case coveredby the assignment is limited and the practical effect of theassignment is to aid and assist circuit judges rather than tousurp circuit court jurisdiction over a particular type of case.472 So.2d at 1165. Similarly,
demonstrates thatsuccessive and repetitive assignments that, when consideredindividually, may be facially valid will not be consideredtemporary where their practical effect is to create a de factopermanent circuit judge by administrative order. 500 So.2d at138.In multi-county circuits the county judges in the less populouscounties are often underutilized, yet they are willing to docircuit judge work. In some instances there are no circuit judgesresident within those counties. The most efficient use of scarcejudicial resources dictates the assignment of county judges tohandle limited aspects of circuit judge work in such counties,provided that the assignments do not interfere with the fullperformance of county judge duties.In the instant case, Judge Wild continues to do all of hiscounty judge work. In addition, Judge Wild has received newassignments every six months to hear one half of the criminalcircuit court work. Obviously, the criminal division is only oneof several divisions of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court,and Judge Wild is assigned to only
half of the cases within that division. The orders appointingJudge Wild more nearly resemble those approved in
rather than the orderdisapproved in
Payret. See also J.G. v. Holtzendorf,
648 So.2d 781
(Fla. 2d DCA 1994) (approvingsuccessive six-month assignments of county judge to hear juvenileand domestic matters in circuit court),
659 So.2d 271 (Fla. 1995). Thus, we conclude that the successivesix-month assignments of Judge Wild to hear half of the cases inIndian River County are permissible.However, we cannot ignore the fact that County Judge Balsigerhas now been assigned to hear the other half of the felony casesin Indian River County. To permit this practice to continue wouldhave the effect of permanently usurping a major segment ofcircuit court work within the county. Therefore, we direct theChief Judge of Indian River County to make the appropriatejudicial reassignments in order that county judges not beassigned to more than half of the felony cases within the county.However, in view of the fact that Judge Wild and Judge Balsigerhave each been sitting on felony cases pursuant to valid orders,this directive shall not be construed to mean that they have beenwithout jurisdiction to hear these cases.We answer the certified question in the affirmative, quash thedecision below, and deny the petition for prohibition.It is so ordered.GRIMES, C.J., and OVERTON, HARDING and WELLS, JJ., concur.KOGAN, J., concurs in part and dissents in part with anopinion, in which SHAW and ANSTEAD, JJ., concur.[fn1] Art. V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const.[fn2] The Honorable L.B. Vocelle, Chief Judge of the NineteenthJudicial Circuit, who was not allowed to intervene in thedistrict court, has filed an amicus curiae brief in support ofJudge Wild's position.
WILD v. DOZIER, 672 So.2d 16 (Fla. 1996)http://www.loislaw.com/pns/docprint2.htp?PRINT=1&booklist=0xffff...2 of 31/22/2011 3:10 PM