What are the Rights of the Respondent?
The Marchman Act is a civil procedure (not criminal). Accordingly, a respondent has the right to be noticed of any court proceeding and a right to appear. After a Marchman Act Petition is filed and a hearing date set by the Court, the respondent WILL BE PROVIDED AN ATTORNEY. The respondent has the right to know the time, date, allegations and specific location of a hearing. The respondent can choose not to attend the hearing, but must be noticed properly regardless. A hearing may take place without the respondent being present, if proper service has been met and is demonstrated to the court. There are two manners of service: (1) service by a law enforcement officer or (2) by private process server. The petitioner can have private service of process arranged to best coordinate the time and place for the respondent to be served. A law enforcement officer may simply serve the respondent at their discretion. If the officer arrives and the respondent is not present, service will not be effectuated. This will ultimately result in delaying all legal proceedings.
It is also important to note that the respondent, by statute, has the right to an attorney at every stage of the proceedings. The respondent does have the right to hire a private attorney. However, a court appointed attorney will be available to the respondent if they are unable to obtain counsel due to financial reasons
The respondent is provided ten individual rights as stated in Florida Statute 397. The rights and their respective descriptions are as follows: