Judge Profile

Kevin M. Emas

Judicial Experience:

  • Judge, 11th Judicial Circuit-Miami-Dade Circuit Court, 1996 to 2001
  • Circuit Court, Family Division (2001)

Other Professional Experience:

  • Fine Jacobson Schwartz Nash Block & England
  • Thornton, Rothman & Emas, P.A.
  • Editor, University of Miami Law Review
  • President, Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity
  • Faculty Member, Florida Judicial College, 1998
  • Faculty Chair, Florida's College of Advanced Judicial Studies
  • Adjunct Faculty Member, University of Miami Law School
  • Coach for the mock trial programs, University of Miami Law School
  • Coach for the mock trial programs, Coral Reef High School
  • Coach for the mock trial programs, Killian Senior High School
  • Mentor, Justice Teaching Institute

Biographical Data:

  • Kevin Emas has served on the bench since 1996. His previous assignments include the Civil Division and the Criminal Division. He was a member of the Law School Honor Court, the Order of Barristers, and was Southeast Regional Champion of the National Mock Trial Competition (ATLA). While at the University of Florida, Judge Emas was selected an Outstanding Young Man of America by the United States Jaycees. Judge Emas has taught at numerous statewide conferences for Circuit and County Court Judges. Judge Emas currently teaches the "Handling Capital Cases" course, which is presented twice a year and is a mandatory course for any judge presiding over a death penalty case. Judge Emas also teaches death penalty courses at the National Judicial College, attended by civilian and military judges from across the United States. Judge Emas lives in Kendall with his wife, Marilyn and their three children, Rachel, Erica and Sam.
    Area(s) of practice or professional experience prior to becoming a Judge
    Criminal defense, commercial litigation, personal injury, civil rights litigation.


  • J.D. (cum laude), University of Miami School of Law, 1982
  • B.A. (with honors), University of Florida, 1979

Admission to the Bar:

  • Florida State Bar

Professional Civic Activities/Honors/Awards:

  • Member, Florida Blue Key
  • Member, SAVANT-UF
  • Member, Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary
  • Dade County Bar Association
  • Cuban American Bar Association
  • Former Chair, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee
  • Current Chair, Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges
  • Executive Board & the Board of Directors, Dave and Mary Alper Jewish Community Center, South Dade
  • Chair, South Dade Jewish Education and Program Committee
  • Executive Director of Development, University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Part Rule:


    Would you take an active role in coordinating discovery and other matters at a case management conference requested pursuant to Fam. L.R.P. 12.200? Yes In what type of cases? If requested by the parties Do you require the parties to appear at the case management conferences? Yes, generally Do you require the parties to appear at a status conference? No


    When a dispute arises during a deposition, is it appropriate to call chambers to seek an immediate ruling? Generally, no. That's what certified questions are for. In a true emergency situation, it might be appropriate to call chambers for a ruling (e.g., deposition of a party, final hearing is set for the next day). No Do you consider the filing of a motion for a protective order with regard to a deposition as an automatic stay of the subject deposition, this relieving the attorney or the witness from the obligation to attend? No What additional steps do you require for the deposition to be stayed? Motion must be filed and served in compliance with Rule 1.280 and emergency hearing must be sought with the court. Rule 1.280 does not provide for an automatic stay. Cf. Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.220 (d)(3) and Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.060 (b)(3) (both of which expressly provide that the filing of a motion operates as an automatic stay). The only Florida caselaw on this issue holds that the filing of a motion for protective order in a civil case does not operate as an automatic stay. See Momenah v. Ammache, 616 So.2d 121 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993); Stables v. Rivers, 559 So.2d 440 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990), though the analysis is rather thin and fails to take into account the practical difficulties in having a motion for protective order heard prior to the deposition, especially when the basis of the motion is insufficient notice. See Trawick, Florida Practice and Procedure §16:13 (2010 Ed.) Does your opinion on this depend upon whether the deposition was "short-noticed" (Ex. noticed within an unreasonably short period of time before the deposition):No Do you allow emergency hearings for motions for protective orders where the time between the motion and the deposition is not sufficient for a non-emergency hearing? Yes


    Are there any motions on which you would rule without the necessity of a hearing? Yes Which motions? Ex parte discovery, substitution of counsel, some motions to withdraw


    The current administrative order provides that a certain period of time must elapse in serving the ex parte motion to compel prior to sending the motion and the ex parte order to the court for entry. In the event that the attorney submitting the order sends the order to the court prior to the expiration of the hold-back period, does the court return the order, or hold the order until the hold-back period has expired? I don't hold it and I don't return it. If I hold it, how do I know whether or not the other side has complied during the hold-back period? Burden is on moving party to determine the appropriate time for filing.


    GENERAL INFORMATION: Do you have any procedures or preferences regarding any subject, including motion practice, with which you expect attorney to comply? (Ex. submission of orders with motion; motion must be filed within 5 days prior to setting hearing; expectation that courtesy copies be submitted by email, etc.): Yes All motions, proposed orders, memoranda, etc should be transmitted to opposing counsel by the same method as they are provided to court. If hand-delivered to court, do not mail same to opposing counsel. When sending a proposed order following a hearing, do it timely (3-5 days). On the cover letter, note the date of the hearing, and indicate that opposing counsel has approved the form of the order (or that opposing counsel objects and will send a competing proposed order). Please indicate any attorney practices which you periodically observe and which should not continue in your courtroom. Pretrial catalogues: Listing witnesses as "all names of individuals in any document", "all impeachment and rebuttal witnesses" is improper. Pretrial catalog requires listing of specific names and summary of testimony. Listing of exhibits as "all documents referred to in depositions", "all documents produced during discovery" is improper. Specific documents must be identified in the pretrial catalog. The requirement that the moving party consults with opposing counsel before filing the motion must be followed. Waiting until the hearing to speak with opposing counsel for the first time (and often resulting in an agreement) ends up taking a time slot that could have been given to another case. Is there anything else that you want attorneys or litigants to know before they appear before you? Please explain: Please call if you are running late. All of our hearings (except UCDs and Motion Calendar) are special sets. If you are not going to be there at the scheduled time, do not wait for my JA or bailiff to call you to find out where you are. Please call us and let us know you are running late and when you will be arriving.

  • Motion Practice: Motion Calendars

    Length of Motion Calendar Hearings:Five Minutes Number of matters allowed to be heard at a single motion calendar: No policy, but generally allow parties to schedule two-three motions on single motion calendar. Under what circumstances can cases be added to a filled motion calendar, or if the matter did not make the motion calendar? Call and ask to have it added. If both sides are noticed and available, it will generally be added. Currently as reported in the Daily Business Review, 5-Minute Motion settings in the Family Division require that the appropriate original motion be attached to the notice of hearing and that all notices and motions be filed with the Family Division Clerk of Courts, L.E.T. Courthouse Center, 175 N.W. 1st Ave., 12th Floor, Miami, FL 33128, 7 days prior to the motion calendar date in order that the Motion be set on the calendar. Courtesy copies should be delivered to the Judge's chambers upon the filing of the motion. Please advise what special procedures you require which are either different than the previous information, or are in addition thereto: None Do you allow hearings by conference call? Yes Under what circumstances? For non-evidentiary hearings, no motion is needed. Must notify court of intent to attend by phone, but motion not necessary. Attorneys and pro se parties can also use the Tele-Court system (~,vwv.tele courLeom) which allows for webcam so the parties/attorneys and court may see each other. Generally, conference calls/tele-court are not permitted where the person seeking to attend by phone has to testify or examine witnesses. However, under some circumstances (with advance request to the court and notice to the other side) accommodations can be made (e.g., party serving in military out of jurisdiction). What procedure should be followed for telephonic hearings? If evidentiary, file motion in advance. If two or more individuals want to attend telephonically, the parties/attorneys must set up the teleconference and call the court. If tele¬court is used, any number of parties/attorneys can attend telephonically. If you advise the parties that you will have a hearing by phone, or announce a ruling by phone, do you allow any attorney to appear in person in your chambers for the hearing? In court, not chambers :Yes If any or all parties appear by phone, do you allow a court reporter to be present in your chambers or courtroom? Yes If any or all parties appear by phone, do you allow a court reporter to be present in one of the party's offices? Yes Do you currently participate in the Tele-Court system? Yes What procedure should be followed for Tele-Court hearings? Parties/ attorneys must sign up on www.tele-court.com and simply notify court of intent to use tele¬court for non-evidentiary hearing. Must seek court permission to attend evidentiary hearing by tele-court. If you advise the parties that you will have a hearing by Tele-court, or announce a ruling by Tele-Court, do you allow any attorney to appear in person in your chambers for the hearing? In court, not chambers? Yes If any or all parties appear by Tele-Court, do you allow a court reporter to be present in your chambers or courtroom?Yes If any or all parties appear by appear by Tele-Court, do you allow a court reporter to be present in one of the party's offices? Yes If a motion calendar hearing is cancelled, reset or resolved by counsel, should counsel advise your office? Yes Should courtesy copies of pleadings and motions set on the motion calendar be forwarded to your chambers? Yes


    Which motions are routinely heard only at specially set hearings? Evidentiary motions; motions which require more than 5 minutes to be heard; emergency motions. What is the procedure for allowing matters to be specially set? Send in motion, requesting hearing, accurately estimate time needed. JA will contact parties to schedule date and time for hearing. Do you have a backup calendar for special appointment hearings to be set on short notice? (Ex. if you have a cancellation)(X) Yes Please explain the applicable procedures: Call my JA, ask her to put you on the list for late cancellations. Give her the necessary information and we will call on short notice if there is a late cancellation of a special set. If counsel seeks to re-set a specially set hearing, is court notice and approval necessary? Yes,Call my JA to reschedule. Re-sets are generally permitted within reason.


    Do you prefer to receive memoranda in support of motions? Yes Do you prefer to receive them before or at the hearing? before hearing How long (how many days) before hearing date? 2-3 days before hearing If you receive a memorandum, do you expect to receive an opposing memorandum? Yes Do you prefer copies of significant cases? Yes Do you prefer they be highlighted? No How soon after the hearing should the order be submitted? 3-5 days Do you expect the attorney submitting the proposed order to advise you in the cover letter if the opposing attorney agrees that the proposal reflects the ruling? Yes If there is disagreement, do you expect a counter-proposed order from the other attorney? Yes If the drafting attorney does not indicate whether opposing attorney agrees/disagrees with proposed order, do you generally allow some time for the submission of a counter-proposed order from the other attorney? Yes If YES, how much time do you generally provide the opposing attorney to submit a counter-proposed order before execution? One week. Will the Court address a motion for appointment of a GAL, Parenting Coordinator or referral to Family Court Services during motion calendar? Depends: On whether testimony is required, how long the motion will take, and whether it is of an emergency nature.


    Do you require a hearing on a Motion to Withdraw? Yes Under what circumstances is a hearing on a motion to withdraw not required? (i.e. there is a notarized consent from client; and no immediate hearing/trial pending) - If there is a stipulated substitution of counsel; or - If client signs consent, and order contains address and phone number for client and there is no pending trial or significant hearing. Should the hearing be set on a:Motion Calendar Do you require the attorney withdrawing to prepare an order for the court, or is there a form order that should be followed? Attorney prepares order, must contain party's address and phone number and generally allowing 20 days for party to hire new counsel or proceed pro se.

  • Post Trial Motions

    Do you review post trial motions to decide whether a hearing will be allowed? Yes If a case is settled, what procedure should be followed to advise your office? Call us immediately so we can give your slot to another party. When do you schedule motions to approve a minor settlement? Call to schedule a special set


    What is the procedure for attorneys to set a case for trial in your Courtroom? Send notice that case is at issue. Court will set case management conference (CMC) and will schedule trial at that CMC Do you require that the parties attempt mediation prior to requesting trial? Prefer that mediation occur before requesting trial, and generally require mediation before case proceeds to trial. Under what circumstances will the Court not require mediation of the parties? Domestic Violence Injunction in place; prior mediation unsuccessful; issues are such that mediation would prove fruitless; exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis. What is your daily/weekly trial schedule? All trials are special set throughout the week. No set schedule for trials. Do you entertain motions in limine prior to trial? Yes How long prior to trial must motions in limine be filed? With pretrial catalogue What reasons in your view would justify granting a continuance? Illness, unavailable witnesses, midst of settlement negotiations, unforeseeable circumstances are examples. What is your policy on granting a continuance? I have no policy. Each request is handled on case-by-case basis. What is your policy for either rolling the case over or removing it from the trial docket? I do not have a "trial docket" or "trial calendar." Each case is specially set following a case management conference. Does the case need to be re-noticed or does it depend on the reason for the continuance? Each case must be re-noticed When a case on the trial calendar is not reached due to the court's schedule, what is your practice and procedure for rolling the case over? N/A Do you generally try the oldest case first? No Do you specially set cases for trial? Yes This is based on the following criteria: All cases are specially set for trial following a case management conference. Opening Statement/ Closing Argument: What rule(s) do you apply when attorneys seek to use demonstrative aids during opening or closing argument? Permitted generally, other side must be provided copy prior to trial. Objections to same will be heard prior to opening. While recognizing that each case is unique, do you impose time constraints for Opening? NO Please explain the time constraints: Attorneys are reminded that openings are not evidence (and they are not witnesses), but should be limited to the evidence that they in good faith believe will be introduced at the trial. Closing? No Do you have any preferences or protocols regarding bench trials that you would like attorneys to know about? Yes, Read and follow the pretrial order that is issued following the case management conference. Are there any standing orders, notices, or forms regarding scheduling, discovery, trial, or other matters that you regularly use or about which you would like to advise the members of the bar? Yes


    The current procedure to set uncontested final hearings (UCD hearings) at L.E.T. Courthouse Center is to call the Judge's chambers directly. The attorney is instructed to file the original notice of hearing and send a courtesy copy to chambers at least 7 working days prior to the calendar date. Please advise if you have any requirement which either vary from the above or which supplements the above: N/A Do you require that the settlement agreement to be approved or ratified by the court, if any, be brought to the hearing either if previously filed or available on the Odyssey system? No(Though it is a good idea to bring a copy since: 1) It doesn't always get scanned into Odyssey in time for the UCD and 2)I have the parties verify their signature on the MSA.) If there is a minor unresolved matter that could not be resolved as part of the written settlement agreement or mediated agreement, will the court attempt to resolve the matter at the UCD calendar (even at the end of the calendar) or will the court grant the dissolution, approve, or ratify the settlement agreement and then reserve the jurisdiction to address the unresolved matter at a later hearing? Depends on how many UCDs are on the calendar, how "minor" the issue is, whether I have a case immediately following the UCD calendar Currently, pursuant to certain administrative orders, required parenting courses and Sandcastles courses are to be completed within 30 days of the date of service of process on the respondent in family proceedings involving children. What is the court procedure if one or both parties fail to complete the required program(s) during the proceedings or at the final hearing, whether a contested trial or UCD? Generally grant the dissolution and sign the final judgment and require parties to complete the course and send certificates within 30 days of judgment. How does the Court handle cases at an uncontested divorce calendar when the following occurs? Case did not make UCD calendar. Depends on the following: Will proceed if the necessary party is present and the necessary documentation is available. Financial Affidavits from both parties not filed and financial issues are involved: Depends on the following: If an MSA has been executed by both parties, generally will go forward with UCD and require party to supplement file within 30 days. Child Support Guidelines have not been filed:Depends. Proof of Residency is Insufficient: Depends on the following: Jurisdictional defect. Either reset or I'll take all other testimony needed and hold final judgment for five days for party to file proof of residency and send me copy of same, after which I'll enter final judgment.
  • UCD Info Day & Time
    Wed 9:30AM
  • Motions Day & Time
    Wed 9:30AM


  • Richard Rapino, Bailiff
  • Ellen Blake, Judicial Assistant