Miami-Dade Public Defender Juvenile Division to Receive Statewide Child Advocacy Award

June 11th, 2008

On June 19, 2008, the Juvenile Division of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office will receive The Honorable Hugh S. Glickstein Award for Child Advocacy for its accomplishments, which have served to benefit all of Florida’s children. Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court will officiate the presentation ceremony.

The event, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is part of the Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in Boca Raton on June 18-21.

With recipients selected annually on a statewide basis, the Hugh Glickstein Award is given to a child advocate judged as “tireless” by the Legal Needs of Children Committee of the Florida Bar’s Public Interest Law Section.

“This Award is being given collectively to the Juvenile Division of the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office for their innovative efforts to protect the rights, health, welfare and safety of Florida’s youth,” explained Committee Chairman Tracey K. McPharlin. “A few examples of these extraordinary people include Chief Assistant Public Defender Carlos Martinez and the Juvenile and Appellate Divisions, including Marie Osborne, Kevin Hellmann, Tamara Gray, Andy Stanton, Shannon McKenna and Valerie Jonas.”

Specifically, the Division’s most noted accomplishments that have benefited children throughout Florida include:

• Drafting a bill and court rule banning the use of indiscriminate chains and shackling on detained children in juvenile courtrooms and establishing a presumption of no chains absent a showing that the child is a risk
o Successfully challenging indiscriminate shackling in Miami Dade’s juvenile courtrooms

• Launching the Juvenile Justice CPR (Charting the Path to Redemption) Initiative, a broad-based legal reform effort to improve the efficacy of the juvenile justice system

• Initiating and holding town hall meetings in Miami Dade to eliminate the schoolhouse to jail house pipeline

• Educating the community through the “Play It Smart” presentations informing teens about their legal rights and how to interact effectively with law enforcement, and through the “Consequences Aren’t Minor” prevention program dealing with the consequences of an arrest or adjudication

• Establishing a specialized defense unit to advocate for children charged as adults

• Creation of the Consequences Fact Sheet for juveniles.

Additional Information:

• Past Hugh Glickstein Award recipients include Justice Barbara Pariente (2005), Miles McGrane (2004), The Florida Commission on the Legal Needs of Children (2002), Alan I. Mishael (2001) and Audrey Schiebler.

• Hugh Glickstein, a Florida judge, was the former head of the American Bar Association's Family Law Section for Children.

• 2008-2009 Legal Needs of Children Committee Chairman Tracey K. McPharlin, a partner in the law firm of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate, specializes in civil rights litigation, class action litigation, appellate proceedings and has handled many of the foster care cases for which the firm has gained national prominence.

• Co-Chaired by Maria Elena Abate of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate and Lisa Kane DeVitto, the Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section provides an organization open to all who have a common interest in advocacy and enhancement of constitutional, statutory or other rights that protect the dignity, security, justice, liberty, or freedom of the individual or public, and a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to increased knowledge and understanding of the areas of public interest law.