What is a writ of mandamus?

Several legal remedies are available to Florida residents who believe their rights have been violated or treated unfairly by the legal system. One of these remedies is known as a “writ of mandamus.” This remedy can be used in a variety of situations, including criminal law cases that are being handled by the lower courts.

A writ of mandamus is a court order that requires a government official or agency to perform a specific duty. It’s a way for individuals to compel a government entity to take action when they have failed to do so or made a mistake.

There are strict guidelines for filing a writ of mandamus, which can be found in Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.100.

Our criminal defense attorneys in Orlando are well-versed in this area of the law and can help you determine if filing a writ of mandamus is the right course of action for your situation. Keep reading to learn more, then contact us for personalized guidance.

what is a writ of mandamus

How can a writ of mandamus be used in criminal cases?

Several requirements must be met before a court will issue a writ of mandamus.

The person requesting the writ must establish the following:

  1. They have a clear legal right to the action they are requesting.
  2. The government entity or official has a clear legal duty to perform that action.
  3. There is no other adequate remedy available.

One common situation in which a writ of mandamus may be used in criminal law is when a defendant is being held in custody and isn’t being brought to trial promptly.

Under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, defendants have the right to a speedy trial. If a defendant has been in custody for an extended period without being brought to trial, they may be able to file a writ of mandamus to compel the judge to move their case forward.

Another possibility is when a defendant has been denied the right to present a defense.

Defendants have the constitutional right to due process, including the right to bring forth evidence relevant to their case. If a judge has denied a defendant that right, a writ of mandamus may be used to compel the judge to allow them to present their defense.

Procedure for obtaining a writ of mandamus

1. File a petition

To obtain a writ of mandamus in Florida, you must file a petition with the appropriate higher court as instructed by your attorney.

The petition must include a straightforward explanation of the legal basis for the request, along with any supporting evidence. It should also include dates, case numbers, court orders, and other key information related to the issue at hand.

2. Court assesses petition and issues order to respond

Once the court receives the petition, it will assess its factual and legal merits.

If the court finds that all of the elements required for a writ of mandamus are present, it will issue a “show cause order” requiring the target of the writ to respond.

3. Respondent agrees to or denies allegations

If the respondent denies the allegations with sufficient evidence, the court may schedule a hearing.

If they fail to do so, a hearing is unnecessary, and the court can make a decision based on the available information.

4. Hearing

In the event that a hearing occurs, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence.

The higher court judge will then determine whether the legal elements have been met and whether a writ of mandamus should be issued.

If the judge grants the writ, the government entity or official will be required to perform the requested action.

If the writ is denied, the petitioner may have other legal options available to them.

Our attorneys can help you explore your options

If you believe you may have a case for a writ of mandamus, it’s vital to consult with an experienced attorney.

When you turn to Katz & Phillips, P.A., we’ll carefully review the facts of your case to determine if a writ of mandamus is a suitable option.

Our criminal defense lawyers in Orlando can also explore other avenues that may be available to you. Contact us today at (321) 332-6864 to get started.


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