The Public Defender is an elected office recognized in the Florida Constitution. There are twenty elected Public Defenders in the State of Florida—one for each Judicial Circuit.
Each elected Public Defender is authorized to hire attorneys to serve as Assistant Public Defenders to represent the clients of the office. The Public Defenders are also authorized to hire support staff, investigations staff, and administrative staff to operate their offices.
Public Defender Offices are funded for the most part out of general revenue funds authorized by the Legislature. Each office also use funds deposited into trust accounts from the payment of Public Defender application fees, attorney fees imposed by the courts, and certain court costs that are collected by the Clerk of Court. Offices, utilities, and information technology support is provided by the county governments within the Circuit.
The Public Defender’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit is organized into the following areas:
- Public Defender
- Human Resources
- Budget Director
- Information Technology
- Circuit Court (felony cases)
- Special Defense Unit
- Regular Felony Division
- Mitigation Unit
- Circuit Court (juvenile cases)
- County Court (misdemeanor, municipal ordinance, and criminal traffic cases)
- Specialty Courts (diversion courts)
- Drug Court
- Veterans Treatment Court
- Mental Health Court
- Baker Act Division (mental health cases)
- Jimmy Ryce Division (sex offender civil commitment cases)
- Investigations Division
- Support Staff