John A. James is a native of Collier City, Florida. He graduated from Blanche Ely High School located in Pompano Beach, Florida. He then went on to attend Florida A&M University where he received both his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees. Equipped with education, but motivated by his beliefs and passion, John returned to South Florida and pursued a career fighting systemic injustice at the Law Office of the Public Defender in 2007.
John has served in both the juvenile and felony divisions, successfully advocating against the wrongful arrest of both juveniles and adults. Prior to serving in his current position as Chief of the Juvenile Division, he has also led the Misdemeanor and Felony Divisions. In his role with the office, John has also had the ability to provide guidance to those that have made mistakes and are in need of a second chance. When he is not in the courtroom, John lends his time and philanthropy to those in need.
The Juvenile Division specifically addresses children accused of committing delinquent acts (criminal offenses) and who are under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged offense. Criminal offenses can range from minor misdemeanor offenses, such as a trespass, to a capital felony, such as homicide. When charged with committing a criminal offense, children are required to appear before a Circuit Court Judge in the Unified Family Division of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. As an attorney for the child, the assigned Assistant Public Defender represents the child’s express interest. The Office of the Public Defender provides legal representation for children at every stage of their delinquency proceedings, including but not limited to, detention and fast track hearings, arraignment and trial. Although children are afforded many of the same rights as an adult charged with a crime, including the right to an attorney, children are not entitled to a jury trial.