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The case of Gideon v. Wainwright , decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1963, led to the establishment of the Florida Public Defender System. In Gideon the court recognized that two systems of justice had prevailed for most of our history: one for the rich and another for the poor. Before 1963 there was no recognized constitutional right to an attorney for those who could not afford one.

The Founding Fathers were concerned that criminal laws, while necessary, could be used by government to suppress the rights of citizens. The public defender office exists to guarantee that the poor, or indigent, have the right to a fair trial.

The lawyers and staff of your Orange/Osceola Public Defender's Office represent indigent people in criminal cases, involuntary mental health and addictions commitments and juvenile delinquency cases in our community.

I am pleased to report that the average cost per case is $196. We are proud to professionally and competently represent citizens for less than an hourly consultation in a local law firm.

While the majority of our work focuses on representing people in court, our trained staff also connects clients with programs dealing with substance abuse, anger management and a host of other issues aimed at keeping people from returning to court.

The Orange/Osceola Public Defender’s Office has been a partner in education, teaching school children about how our legal system works and recruiting college students for internships in law, social services, and investigations/criminal justice.

I hope you will take a few minutes to explore our website to see all that your Public Defender’s Office is doing in our community. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 407-836-4800 or pubdef@circuit9.org

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  Robert Wesley was elected Public Defender of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in November 2000. His entire professional career has... more>  
     

 

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