Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Third DCA Reverses Order Excusing Public Defender

In State v. Public Defender, the Third DCA reversed the circuit court's order permitting the public defender for Miami-Dade County to decline representation in future third degree felony cases.
The Court's conclusion is below:

We understand the difficulties faced by PD11. With an ever-increasing quantity of cases and a tight budget, their important task is certainly made more difficult. The office-wide solution to the problem, however, lies with the legislature or the internal administration of PD11, not with the courts.

"We believe that within the existing statutory framework there exists a method for resolving the problem of excessive caseload." In re Prosecution, 561 So. 2d at 1134. Only after an assistant public defender proves prejudice or conflict, separate from excessive caseload, may that attorney withdraw from a particular case. § 27.5303(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2007) ("The court shall deny the [assistant public defender’s] motion to withdraw if the court finds the grounds for withdrawal are insufficient or the asserted conflict is not prejudicial to the indigent client.").


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