The Story Of Our Success

2020

November 3, 2020

Elected – Public Defender

Gordon Weekes - Public Defender

2021

January 5, 2021

Investiture Ceremony

Surrounded by friends, family and the support of the community Gordon Weekes took the oath of office and assumed the role of Public Defender in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Broward County, Florida, during a global pandemic. His first task was to guide the transition of the Law Office of the Public Defender from a virtual court process to an in-person judicial process that protected and ensured the Constitutional safeguards of indigent clients.

Gordon Weekes Investiture Ceremony

May 2021

Juvenile Civil Citation Program – Memorialized and Implemented

The Juvenile Civil Citation Program is a statewide civil alternative to the formal arrest and criminal prosecution of youth 17 years of age or under who commit program eligible misdemeanor offenses. This alternative to arrest is designed to immediately address the behavior while assessing for needs, linkage to appropriate interventions and holding the youth accountable. The intended outcomes are to prevent further acts of delinquency by appropriately addressing the behavior without creating a criminal record or requiring court intervention. The statute directs each jurisdiction to formally establish a Juvenile Civil Citation Program and law enforcement to issue a civil citation in lieu of an arrest.

The program’s requirements will include, but not be limited to, the completion of community service hours, payment of restitution, if applicable, and intervention services indicated by a needs assessment.

The purpose of the Broward County Circuit 17 Juvenile Civil Citation Program is to provide an efficient and innovative alternative to arrests of all juveniles who commit misdemeanor offenses. The consistent and equitable use of civil citation program has a positive effect on the entire Juvenile Justice System and contributes to an overall reduction in the crime and recidivism rates, interagency cooperation and increases public safety for the whole of Broward County.

Admin Order –

May 2021

Juvenile Civil Citation Program

Resolution No.: 2021

Board of the County Commissioners of Broward County

Resolution on Support and Participation

Admin Order –

June 2021

Adopted the Juvenile Civil Citation Program by the Circuit

CREATION OF THE SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT JUVENILE CIVIL CITATION PROGRAM

Administrative Order 2021-28-Ufc

The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Juvenile Civil Citation Program is hereby established.

Admin Order –

August 2021

Revised Veterans Treatment Court

Administrative Order 2021-40-Crim

Admin Order –

October 2021

Adopted and Revised Mental Health Court

Hope, Healing and Help

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Felony Mental Health Court

Admin Order –
Adopted and Revised Mental Health Court Signing Ceremony

2022

January 2022

Joint Opinion Editorial South Florida Sun Sentinel

Low pay is keeping lawyers from public service

Harold F. Pryor and Gordon Weekes

Op Ed – Sun Sentinel
newspaper article

February 2022

New Bond Schedule

Administrative Order 2022-11-Crim.

This is the first step in Cash Bail Reform for this community that will hopefully help level the playing field for the less affluent in Broward. The new schedule specifies the less affluent must be treated equitably and released on recognizance for many specified 3rd Degree Felonies and Misdemeanor Offenses. This will hopefully reduce the disproportionate impact that Bond has on our indigent clients and the community.

Admin Order –

May 20, 2022

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month 2022, the Law Office of the Public Defender opened as a canvas and featured artistic expression that promotes understanding and acceptance both for those with mental illness and those without.

Mental Health Awareness Month Art Exibition Flyer

June 23, 2022

Returning Citizens Workshop

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July 1, 2022

Prosecutors, public defenders to receive pay raises in July under proposed budget

August, 2022

The Biden Administration Announces

Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

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August 18, 2022

Building Opportunities Through Collaboration:

Proud to work in collaboration with the State Attorney, Harold Pryor and our community stakeholder’s in OIC of South Florida to create a new diversion program, Economic Empowerment Today. This program is designed to make our community safer by reducing recidivism for eligible individuals who are charged with certain nonviolent crimes. The participants in the Economic Empowerment Today Diversion Program will be given the opportunity to complete technical training to help them acquire a trade that can be lead to gainful employment and result in economic employment.

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2023

January, 2023

2023 Broward Delegation:

February, 2023

Education Opportunity Diversion Program:

https://wsvn.com/news/local/broward/broward-college-offering-free-education-to-convicts-via-diversion-program/

The Court to College Diversion Program is one of Broward College’s new Transformational Justice programs that works to remove barriers to education and employment.

The program offers nonviolent first-time offenders – and the victims of the crimes – the opportunity to be enrolled in skills training and to receive industry-recognized credentials that can lead to jobs.

“We always prefer to see people in a classroom instead of a courtroom or a jail cell,” said Broward State Attorney Harold F. Pryor. “This program will give students a second chance and the practical skills they need to be successful in the workforce. I am very grateful that Broward College has extended the offer to allow the victims of the crimes to receive the same opportunities.”

“With the Transformational Justice programs, Broward College is furthering its work to expand access to post-secondary education to everyone in our community,” said Broward College President Gregory Adam Haile. “Everyone, regardless of their circumstances, should have access to post-secondary education. “We want to give these residents a second chance by helping them acquire the knowledge, skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce and improve their opportunities for economic mobility.”

The Court to College Diversion program allows first-time nonviolent offenders who are charged with a third-degree felony, or lower offense, to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction. Their cases will be diverted from the trial court process, and they can instead pursue an opportunity to improve their technical skills in high-demand industries. Upon completing the educational program and complying with all requirements of the pretrial diversion program, successful participants will receive a technical certificate and dismissal of the charges.

“This program provides an exceptional opportunity for first-time offenders to get on the right track and turn their lives around,” said Broward Public Defender Gordon Weekes. “Too often, we see young people struggle to overcome the hardships that follow a criminal record, and it’s important that those that have made mistakes and are in need of a second chance have access to programs like this. We are grateful for the partnership with Broward College and look forward to working together to change the trajectory of these students’ lives.”

The diversion program requires that the victim in the case approve the offender’s entry into the Court to College program. Once approval is received from the victim and the accused, Broward College provides free tuition options for both the victim and the defendant, thanks to the Open Door and Rapid Credential grants. This will cover tuition, books, and the cost of certification exams for participants.

Participants can choose from three areas of study. They must complete all courses and requirements in one of three tracks to receive a technical certificate:

  • Marine Electrician Technical Certificate (12-credit)
  • Automotive Service Technician (24-credit)
  • Logistics and Transportation Specialist Technical Certificate (18-credit)

March, 2023

Which Amendment Shields Machinations of the Mind in the Face of Contempt?

Author: Austyn Sanders

Assistant Public Defender

 

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