What is Judicial Notice?

March 10, 2022 Criminal Defense

Judicial notice refers to when a court accepts something as a fact without evidence to support its truth. This commonly applies to “common sense” principles like times of sunset and sunrise, known historic events, and the sky is blue. It can also apply to accepting knowledge from official records without other evidence to establish its accuracy, like court records, temperature records, and dates.

How Does Judicial Notice Work?

How does this apply to cases? The court can take judicial notice of a relevant or adjudicative fact. This can happen with or without request by a party. But, if a party moves for judicial notice of a certain fact, the proponent of such fact must meet certain requirements. They have to:

  • Make a formal request with the court for them to take judicial notice of the fact; and
  • The fact has to be common knowledge, common sense, community knowledge, or be easily verified.

The Statute

Florida Statute Section 90.201 – 207 covers the rules regarding judicial notice.

A summary of the most important sections:

  • 201 “Matters Which Must Be Judicially Noticed”

This section is referred to as “Mandatory Judicial Notice.” It means the following must be accepted as facts:

  • Florida and United States laws and resolutions
  • Florida and United States Supreme Court rules
  • United States Court of Appeals rules
  • 202 “Matter Which May Be Judicially Noticed”

This section is referred to as Permissive Judicial Notice. It means any of the following may be judicially noticed:

  • Acts and resolutions of Congress and the Florida Legislature
  • Laws of anywhere else in the United States
  • Contents of the Federal Register
  • Laws of foreign nations/organizations
  • Official actions of any branch of government in the United States
  • Records of any court in the United States
  • Rules of any court in the United States
  • Provisions of municipal and county charters and amendments of Florida (certified copies or printed copies)
  • Florida governmental agency rules published in the Florida Administrative Code
  • Enacted ordinances and resolutions of counties and municipalities in Florida (printed or certified copies)
  • Generally known facts in the community
  • Easily verifiable facts
  • 203 “Compulsory Judicial Notice Upon Request”

This states that a court will take judicial notice of any matter in the previous section when the party requests it and gives the other party written notice of the request, proof of which is filed with the court, to enable the other party to meet with the request and gives the court adequate information to enable it to take judicial notice of the fact.

  • 205 “Denial of a Request for Judicial Notice

If counsel requests, when a court denies a request to take judicial notice, the court will inform the parties as soon as possible and will indicate for the record that it has denied the request.

  • 206 “Instructing Jury on Judicial Notice”

The court may instruct the jury during the trial to accept as a fact a matter judicially noticed.

  • 207 “Judicial Notice by trial Court in Subsequent Proceedings”

This refers to appeals. The section explains that the failure or refusal of a court to take judicial notice of a fact does not preclude an appellate court from taking judicial notice of the matter in subsequent proceedings.

When Is Judicial Notice Unavailable?

Judicial notice is not applicable to all proceedings, like:

  • Grand jury proceedings
  • Extradition proceedings
  • Criminal summonses
  • Bench Warrants
  • Bail or Sentencing Proceedings

Can The Opposing Party Object to the Judicial Notice?

Yes. The opposing party can object to the court taking judicial notice of a matter. The challenging party can object on the basis that it is improper, the fact is not included under those allowed to be judicially noticed, or the proposed matter to be noticed is irrelevant. The objecting party must contest the judicial notice in a timely manner.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Florida, contact a knowledgeable Tallahassee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have the experience necessary to fight for your freedom. Give us a call at (850) 681 – 7777 or send an online message today to discuss your legal matter during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our team.

 Written by Gabi D’Esposito

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