Juvenile Public Defenders
As an attorney for the child, the assigned assistant public defender represents the child’s express interest, even when that may differ from what the child’s parent, judge, prosecutor, or probation officer think is best.
What to Expect
A child accused with committing a crime may be summoned to court or may be arrested by a take-into-custody order (TICO) or a warrant.
Any child in detention will appear before a judge for a hearing within 24 hours of being detained. Detention hearings are held on weekdays at the Main Courthouse and on weekends at the Criminal Justice Complex. At the detention hearing, the judge will appoint an assistant public defender if the child qualifies. The judge determines whether the child will remain in nonsecure or secure detention, and the case is assigned to one of the juvenile divisions. A child in nonsecure or secure detention may only remain on that detention status for 21 days unless an adjudicatory hearing occurs, or unless waived by the child and his or her attorney.
The State may offer to divert a case to a diversion program. If the child accepts and successfully completes the diversion, then the State will not file charges. Otherwise, the State will file a petition alleging that the child has committed a delinquent act. The child may enter a plea or proceed to trial.
When a child is charged with certain felony offenses, the State Attorney’s Office may choose to “direct file” a case and transfer it to adult criminal court. If this occurs, the child will be taken into custody by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and will appear at first appearances at the courthouse on Gun Club Road to have bond set. Out office will assign a specific direct file attorney to represent the child. A direct-filed juvenile will appear in adult court for all future court proceedings.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings made unconstitutional life sentences without the possibility of parole in non-homicide cases and mandatory life without parole sentences in homicide cases. In response, the office created a team of experienced lawyers and investigators to identify these cases and work with the more than 20 individuals from Palm Beach County who qualified to be resentenced.
Birth to 22 (Palm Beach County website that has a searchable database of available services in the county): http://pbcbirthto22.com/
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice: http://www.djj.state.fl.us/
Juvenile Detention Center: http://www.djj.state.fl.us/programs-facilities/detention-centers
Juvenile Assessment Center: http://www.djj.state.fl.us/contact-us/probation-contacts/assessment-centers