Conversations: May 11, 2020
On May 11, 2020, Carlos Martinez, Public Defender for the 11th Judicial District of Florida, and Xavier Cortada discussed how the Coronavirus pandemic had affected his office and their clients. They discussed the impact on the attorneys working in his office and the clients who they serve, specifically addressing the special circumstances of those currently in custody. They also discussed how the pandemic has created opportunities, exacerbated problems and exposed disparities in the administration of justice.
About Carlos J. Martinez
Carlos J. Martinez, Miami-Dade County’s Public Defender manages an office of 400 employees, handling approximately 70,000 cases each year. He was first elected in 2008.
Mr. Martinez represented thousands of clients before working as an administrator in the Public Defender’s office for 12 years. He helped lead the successful effort in Florida to ban shackling of children in juvenile courtrooms.
He instituted the “Redemption Project” in 1998 to help former clients/returning citizens with sealing, expungement and rights restoration. He was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Streamlined Court Review process for Amendment 4 in Miami-Dade.
Mr. Martinez served on the Florida Bar Board of Governors as the government lawyer representative. He is currently the Chairperson of the Indigent Advisory Group of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Vice chair of the National Association for Public Defense Executive Committee, and was a member of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution’s Executive Session on Rethinking the Role of the Prosecutor in the Community. He served on the Florida Blueprint Commission on Juvenile Justice, the Zero Tolerance Task Force, and chaired the Representation Subcommittee of The Florida Bar’s Commission on the Legal Needs of Children.
He recently co-authored an article on Prosecution and Public Defense: The Prosecutor’s Role in Securing A Meaningful Right to an Attorney.
Find Carlos J. Martinez on Twitter: @miamidefender1