Florida

Gideon Alert: NACDL report exposes Florida’s “no counsel” courts

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 3:16 PM

“Supreme Court Justices rarely consider appeals of misdemeanor convictions.  Nearly a half-million misdemeanor cases are filed in Florida’s county courts every year, and the vast majority of those cases are resolved by a plea of guilty, often in a matter of minutes.  Advice of rights by the courts and the assistance of lawyers for the defendants, whether they can afford them or not, are exceptions, not the rule.  It is as if our criminal and traffic courts operate as 'constitution-free zones,' outside the law.” -- Gerald Kogan, former Florida Chief Justice

In 2008, the Office of the Public Defender for the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, providing indigent defense services for Miami-Dade County, was engaged in litigation regarding excessive caseloads.  This Resolution was issued in connection with that litigation.

Author/Organization: American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD)
Publication Date: 06/05/2008

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Gideon Alert: Ignoring the 6th Amendment in Broward County, Florida Municipal Courts

BY David Carroll on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

It is an all too common occurrence for misdemeanor courts in the United States to pressure people charged with misdemeanors into waiving their right to counsel without adequately informing them of the consequences of doing so.  Courts defend such practices as an attempt to expedite the processing of cases and save money, but the Sixth Amendment does not allow this type of shortcut.  And, the consequences for unrepresented people can be severe, such as loss of public housing, deportation, inability to serve in the armed forces, ineligibility for student loans, and significant financial penalties.

Letter from the Broward County (Florida) Chief Public Defender to the Chief Judge of the 17th Circuit Court regarding the need for appointment of counsel for defendants in municipal court cases facing a potential loss of liberty.

Author/Organization: Howard Finkelstein, Broward County Public Defender
Publication Date: 01/06/2011

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Letter from the Broward County (Florida) Public Defender to the Fort Lauderdale City Manager regarding the "Defense of Indigents Charged with Violating County or Municipal Ordinances."

Author/Organization: Howard Finkelstein, Broward County Public Defender
Publication Date: 03/22/2007

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Gideon Alert: Striking a balance in protecting defendant-lawyer communications in jails

BY David Carroll on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 at 5:25 AM

A recent story reported by The Ledger out of Polk County (Bartow), Florida tells of a conflict between the Sheriff’s Department and the Public Defender Office.  The Sherif

Correspondence related to the recording of jail telephone calls in Polk County, Florida.
 

Author/Organization: J. Marion Moorman
Publication Date: 06/29/2010

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Correspondence related to the recording of jail telephone calls in Polk County, Florida.

Author/Organization: J. Marion Moorman
Publication Date: 06/04/2010

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Correspondence related to the recording of jail telephone calls in Polk County, Florida.

Author/Organization: Cassandra I. Denmark
Publication Date: 05/27/2010

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Gideon Alert: former Florida Chief Justice speaks out against privatization of services

BY David Carroll on Friday, April 23, 2010 at 10:17 PM

In today’s Miami Herald, former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Kogan has penned an op-ed opposing a proposal - currently before the state legislature - to privatize a portion of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s caseload at a rate of $700 pe