Centered in the heart of Florida's 20 judicial circuits, the Courts of the Tenth Judicial Circuit serve Hardee, Highlands, and Polk Counties. The tri-county area has diverse localities ranging from urbanized population centers to profoundly rural areas. Twenty-eight circuit judges and twelve county court judges serve a population of approximately 728, 612 people in a 3,676 square mile area.
In the State of Florida, the court system is organized in four different tiers, with a two-tier appellate court system, and a two-tier trial court system. The Supreme Court of Florida and the five District Courts of Appeal make up the appellate court system. In the trial court system, all 20 judicial circuits have one circuit court encompassing one or more county courts. The Tenth Judicial Circuit Court has three county courts, one each in Hardee (Wauchula), Highlands (Sebring), and Polk (Bartow) Counties.
The Tenth Judicial Circuit is a court of general jurisdiction and is comprised of five divisions: Civil, Criminal (Felony), Family, Juvenile, and Probate. Each of the five divisions is under the auspices of an administrative judge, appointed by the chief judge. County courts are courts of limited jurisdiction where criminal misdemeanors, traffic cases and civil cases under $15,000 (landlord/tenant, small claims) are heard. Each county court is overseen by an administrative judge appointed by the chief judge.
The Courts of the Tenth Judicial Circuit will conduct their business openly, will ensure that all persons with legitimate business before the Courts have access to their proceedings, and will make their facilities safe, accessible and convenient to use.
The Courts of the Tenth Judicial Circuit will meet their responsibilities to everyone affected by their actions and activities in a timely and expeditious manner.
The Courts of the Tenth Judicial Circuit will provide due process and equal protection of the law to all who have business before them by applying the principles of equality, fairness and integrity in reaching decisions.
The Courts of the Tenth Judicial Circuit will conduct their business and activities in a way that will instill public trust and confidence.