Melinda Blostein serves as the Chief Assistant Public Defender for the Specialty Courts Division, including the Mental Health Division, Drug Court and Veterans Treatment Intervention Court. Ms. Blostein grew up in North Fort Lauderdale and graduated from Coconut Creek High School. She attended Florida State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Ms. Blostein went on to attend law school at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center and graduated cum laude, earning her Juris Doctorate in 1996. Ms. Blostein began her legal career with the Broward County Public Defender’s Office in 1996 and has previously served as a supervisor in both the Juvenile Division and in Mental Health Court.
Ms. Blostein served as past chair of the Juvenile Detention Center Advisory Board, and as a member of the Florida Bar Juvenile Rules Committee. Ms. Blostein is also the recipient of the NAACP Justice Award in Broward County in 2007. Ms. Blostein spends her free time volunteering with local charities to assist those individuals dealing with food insecurity.
Our experienced team of knowledgeable and empathetic attorneys represent those clients in both felony and misdemeanor cases who have been found incompetent to proceed. These clients can be placed in the community or in some cases committed to the forensic state hospital for competency restoration. Our attorneys also handle those clients subject to civil restraints on their liberty due to Florida’s Mental Health Act, also known as the Baker Act.
We believe that the attention to and care for a client’s underlying substance abuse issues, if applicable, in lieu of incarceration will dramatically improve their quality of life and steer them away from ongoing engagement with the criminal justice system. Substance abuse treatment-based programs are available for those clients who qualify based upon their current offense and history. With successful treatment, in certain cases we are able to get the criminal charges they are facing dismissed.
Current and former eligible members of the armed forces who have suffered with mental illness can participate in this therapeutic court to assist those who have served. Individualized treatment plans are developed and mentorship is provided in conjunction with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Upon successful completion of the pretrial intervention program, the court can dismiss all criminal charges.