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Special Event

Briefing on Absentee Ballot Cases at Leon County Circuit Court

Aired December 8, 2000 - 9:12 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are going right to the Leon County Courthouse, and we have an announcement right now.

Let's listen in.

DOUG SMITH, LEON COUNTY COURT SPOKESMAN: Currently, we don't have too much more to add to what you know already. As it stands right now, Judge Lewis still intends to release his ruling in writing around noon. And at this point, we have not gotten any word from Judge Clark as to exactly when she would like to release her opinion.

But we do know they will both released in writing. They will not on the bench.

QUESTION: Will they be released together?

SMITH: That is not clear at this point.

TERRE CASE, LEON COUNTY COURT ADMINISTRATOR: Not necessarily.

QUESTION: Do we know if they're meeting? Judge Lewis had said he wanted to confer with Judge Clark.

CASE: No, Judge Lewis is actually in a status conference this morning with one of his other cases.

QUESTION: So he's not going to meet with her or we don't know if he will?

SMITH: They may have met.

CASE: We don't know.

SMITH: We don't know. They were both here last night when I left.

QUESTION: How will you issue those rulings? Are you guys going to bring out the staff with Xeroxes?

SMITH: We plan to release in writing here in the rotunda, as we have in other rulings.

QUESTION: Will you make an announcement first?

SMITH: If we have the information, we will certainly make an announcement, to give you all as much head's up as possible.

QUESTION: Will someone read it there at the podium?

CASE: We're not sure right now how that's going to be handled. We do know that it will happen here in the rotunda area.

What we will do is give you another status update 11 o'clock this morning. OK?

QUESTION: Will you putting it on the web as well?

SMITH: Once it's released, it will be available on the web.

QUESTION: But the first availability is here?

SMITH: The first availability will be here in hard copy, and then immediately thereafter, it'll be available on the web.

QUESTION: When the appeals are filed, do we know when or where or how...

SMITH: If appeals are filed, they will be filed here in the 2nd judicial circuit, as have all the rest of them, and they'll be sent across to the 1st DCA.

CASE: And we expect that they will be probably certified directly to the Supreme Court.

QUESTION: How will the judges notify the parties?

CASE: We generally call the parties first. They will be the first to receive the ruling.

QUESTION: Have you actually talked to Judge Clark this morning, and she's told you she doesn't know? Or you haven't talked with her?

SMITH: I've actually talked to her judicial assistant. She's, obviously, very busy right now.

QUESTION: Is it possible that Judge Clark could rule on another day or...

SMITH: The indication is that she plans to rule today. I just don't know what time.

QUESTION: Do you still plan on giving us an hour's notification before the ruling comes down?

SMITH: For Judge Lewis, I can say yes, we will give you an hour's notice. For Judge Clark, I can't make that determination at this point.

CASE: We'll try to keep you updated as we have information. That's why we decided to come down again at 11. Now, if something comes out before then, of course you'll see us come down here maybe earlier than that. QUESTION: How quickly will it make it onto the web site? Will it be on that right away?

SMITH: It will be within a few minutes. They obviously have to scan the document in and prepare it for distribution on the web site. But they, as always, indicated they would get it up as expediently as possible.

QUESTION: At that address up above you?

SMITH: Not exactly that address above us. If you put "clerk" in front of "co" and in between the "www," that will get you where you need to be.

CASE: "High-profile cases" is your link.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SMITH: Thank you.

CASE: Thank you.

KAGAN: There we have representatives from Leon County Court, Terre Case and Doug Smith, giving us housekeeping items. As you can see, we are keeping on top of these things. So you're learning right along with us how this stuff will be released. Terry Clark, Judge Terry Clark, looking over the Martin County case and the absentee ballots there. They are saying, once again, that he will probably be releasing his decision around noon.

The other case here, Seminole County, that decision coming from Judge Nikki Clark, not clear yet, but it really does look like it is going to happen today. In each case, both decisions will be released in a rather low-tech way, by paper, spread among reporters in the rotunda area there of the courthouse.

We will have it for you. We will also keep tracking it. If you were listening along, you also heard Terre Case say that they will have another update an hour and 45 minutes from now, and give us an hour's heads up. That is when we can expect those decisions.

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