The Special Magistrate is appointed by the City Manager. The Special Magistrate has jurisdiction to hear violations of all codes and ordinances of the City of Doral and Miami-Dade County with most cases arising out of violations of the City's housing, landscaping, property maintenance, building, zoning and sign codes, and ordinances to maintain minimum health, welfare and safety standards. He/She is authorized to hold hearings and impose fines, liens and other NON-criminal penalties against violators.
Each Special Magistrate shall have the power to:
- Adopt rules for the conduct of its hearings.
- Subpoena alleged violators and witnesses to its hearings. Subpoenas may be served by the police department or the sheriff.
- Subpoena evidence.
- Take testimony under oath.
- Issue a Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law.
- Issue orders having the force of law commanding whatever steps are necessary to bring a violation into compliance. Sec. 11-29. Powers. (Ord. No. 2006-06, § 2(art. II(3)), 3-8-2006)
Special Magistrate Forms:
Special Magistrate Hearings are held:
City of Doral Government Center
8401 NW 53rd Terrace, Third Floor
Doral, FL 33166
Acting Administrative Assistant/Special Magistrate Agenda Coordinator
What is a Special Magistrate Hearing?
The Special Magistrate Hearing is a quasi-judicial proceeding, which means the formal rules of evidence are relaxed, but fundamental due process is observed and governs these proceedings. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if the Special Magistrate finds it to be competent and reliable, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule to the contrary. All witnesses who plan to testify need to, and are subject to cross-examination. The burdens in these proceedings are upon the City of Doral, and it is their responsibility to prove that a violation does exist. If someone is found guilty of a code violation they can be subject to a fine not to exceed $250 for a first violation and $500 for a repeat violation. However, if the Special Magistrate finds a violation to be irreparable or irreversible in nature, he/she can impose a fine not to exceed $5,000 per violation. Also, if the city prevails in its case, the city can request reasonable fees to recover the administrative costs in investigating the matter and the cost of the hearing.
If a person attends the Hearing to contest a violation, the respondent has every right to do so. The city presents their statement and evidence first, and then an opportunity is given to the respondent to present their side of the story. If the person agrees with the city that the violation does exist, but is seeking additional time, the respondent is to let the Special Magistrate know how much time is needed. The Special Magistrate is not a judge. He/she does not have that authority. He/she is simply a hearing officer, so what happens at the Hearing is based entirely on the evidence that is submitted into the record. If the respondent has a disagreement with a city policy, for instance, that is an issue that the Special Magistrate cannot consider. The policies have been written by others.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Special Magistrate will impose an Order, a Finding of Fact, which is based on evidence and Conclusions of Law and affording the proper relief consistent with the powers granted to him/her. Any aggrieved party, including the City, may appeal the Special Magistrate Order to the Circuit Court. Such an appeal shall not be a hearing de novo, but shall be limited to appellate review of the record created at the hearing. An appeal needs to be filed within 30 days of the Special Magistrate Order.