The Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office handles about 70,000 cases each year, with about 11,000 cases open at any given time. It is divided into several major divisions concerning appellate review, felony litigation, juvenile delinquency litigation, misdemeanor and criminal traffic litigation. Office operations are divided into an executive office, business office, office-wide training, management information systems unit and several specialized litigation-related units: capital litigation, early representation, domestic representation, indefinite civil commitment, civil mental health, mitigation and placement, and investigations.
The public defender is an elected official who has a constitutional duty to provide legal representation to people in danger of losing their liberty and who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. To carry out his constitutional duty, the public defender is assisted by:
- Assistant public defenders
- Mitigation and placement specialists
- Secretaries, receptionists and clerks
- Paralegals and interviewers
- Management information systems personnel
- Budget and finance personnel
- Administrative personnel
- Law librarian
- Volunteer attorneys
- Law school, college and high school interns
The Public Defender is also assisted by Executive Chief Assistant Public Defender and Chief of the Felony Division Teresa Enriquez; Deputy Chief of the Felony Division Damaris Del Valle; Executive Chief Assistant Public Defender Richard De Maria; General Counsel and Recruitment Director Guy D. Robinson; Chief Assistant Public Defenders Natahly Soler (County Court), Marjorie Alexis (Children’s Defense Division), Maria Lauredo (Appeals); Director of Training and Professionalism Kevin Hellmann; Director of Support Services LaEatrice McMurray, HR Director Diane Yanez Ridgeway, and Director of Finance and Accounting Sonya Bellinger.