On March 24, 2017, the Inter-American Law Review hosted its 35th Annual Lawyer of the Americas Banquet honoring Carlos J. Martinez, elected Public Defender for Miami-Dade County.
Carlos J. Martinez, J.D. ’90 was elected public defender in 2008, and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. Carlos is the first Cuban-American Public Defender and the only elected Hispanic Public Defender in the U.S. As Public Defender, Carlos manages an office of approximately 400 employees, handling approximately 75,000 cases each year. Carlos has worked tirelessly to address the crisis of minority children being cycled from the school house to the jail house, and to protect the confidentiality of juvenile records. Carlos recently served as government lawyer liaison to The Florida Bar Board of Governors and is a member to the University of Miami School of Law National Advisory Council. Carlos chaired the Representation Subcommittee of The Florida Bar’s Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, and later served as Chair of the Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee. He has also served on the Supreme Court of Florida Steering Committee on Drug Courts and the Steering Committee on Families and Children, the National Institute of Corrections’ National Advisory Committee on Evidence Based Decision Making for Local Criminal Justice Systems, the Florida Blueprint Commission on Juvenile Justice and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Zero Tolerance Task Force. Carlos has served on technical assistance and training teams across the United States and Latin America, including the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD – Dominican Republic, Chile and Mexico), the Honduran National Office of Public Defense, and the Public Defender Offices in Schenectady County (NY), San Bernardino County (CA), Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ), and Marion County (Indianapolis, IN).
Photo credit: Jenny Abreu