Finding of Probable Cause
The first step of the disciplinary process shall begin when the Probable Cause Determination Panel determines that an officer has failed to maintain compliance with Section 943.13 (4) or (7), F.S., and, therefore, enters a Finding of Probable Cause. After a finding of probable cause has been entered, the officer shall receive the following documents from the Commission:
An Administrative Complaint is the "official charging document" by the Commission that contains specific allegation(s) against the officer, and statutory and Commission Rule cites forming the basis for Commission action.
Election of Rights Document
The Election of Rights form, which is enclosed with the Administrative Complaint, allows the officer to proceed with a formal or informal hearing, or allows the officer to voluntarily relinquish his/her criminal justice certification.
- If the officer disputes the facts recorded in the Administrative Complaint, the officer is required to choose a formal hearing. If the officer requests a formal hearing, CJST Commission Staff shall notify the Department of Management Services, Division of Administrative Hearings, which shall schedule an Administrative Law Judge to conduct the hearing.
- The officer is given the opportunity to be represented by legal counsel, or he/she can represent him/herself and to present witnesses. CJST Commission shall be represented by legal counsel, and has the right to present witnesses on its behalf.
- The Administrative Law Judge shall render a decision on the case after presentation of all evidence, which is issued in the form of a "Recommended Order," and the Administrative Law Judge shall distribute copies of the Recommended Order to the officer and Commission Staff.
- The Professional Compliance Section shall then present the "Recommended Order" for final Commission action. The Commission shall decide at one of its quarterly Commission meetings, whether to accept in whole or in part, the "Recommended Order" of the Administrative Law Judge as the final decision in the case.
- The officer shall receive formal notice of the Commission’s decision through the issuance of a Final Order.
- If either side disagrees with the findings of the Administrative Law Judge, they may file "Exceptions to the Recommended Order" to be considered by the Commission.
- An Informal Hearing provides the officer the opportunity to appear before the full Commission and present any mitigating factors prior to the Commission determining what disciplinary action to impose for the misconduct. However, there can be no dispute of a material fact as presented in the Administrative Complaint. If an officer disputes the material facts in the Administrative Complaint during an informal hearing, the Commission shall advise the officer that the informal hearing is not the proper venue to hear disputed facts, and shall direct Commission staff to proceed to a formal hearing on the case.
- As in a formal hearing, the officer has the right to be represented by him/herself or counsel and to present witnesses. After hearing and reviewing all information presented, the Commission shall determine the disciplinary penalty, if any.
- The officer shall receive formal notice of the Commission’s decision in the form of a Final Order.
In the case of a voluntary relinquishment, the officer can either agree with or dispute the facts as they are presented in the Administrative Complaint. In either case, the officer shall agree to voluntarily give up criminal justice certification. The voluntary relinquishment shall also be presented to the Commission for acceptance. The officer shall receive formal notice of the Commission’s decision in the form of a Final Order.
An officer has 30 days from the date of receipt of the Administrative Complaint to return the Election of Rights document to the Professional Compliance Section. If the officer fails to respond within 30 days, the disciplinary case is presented to the Commission as a Default.
Stipulation & Settlement Agreements
Commission staff and the Respondent may enter into an agreement regarding final disciplinary action regarding his/her officer certification. This agreement is presented by Commission staff for approval by the Commission.
Issuance of a Final Order
The Commission shall review all information regarding formal and informal hearings, voluntary relinquishments, and defaults to determine if disciplinary action is required. The officer, the officer’s legal representative, and the current or last employing agency administrator shall be notified of the final Commission action by a Final Order. All Commission actions are final; however, an officer may appeal a Final Order to the District Court of Appeal.