Assistant State Attorneys in the Felony Bureau provide all aspects of prosecution of felony cases that can include: repeat offenders, violent offenders and those who commit crimes the Florida legislature has recognized as the most serious. Violent and repeat offenders are handled by the Career Criminal Lead prosecutors who have seniority and more experience prosecuting difficult cases. Each felony Assistant State Attorney must know how to balance time, efforts and victims’ desires to ensure that justice is preserved and the public protected. The Felony Bureau is also responsible for the training of new attorneys in the office.
The Felony Bureau has two specialized units: the Special Prosecution Unit for homicides and the Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit. These units allow prosecutors, legal assistants, victim advocates, witness coordinators and investigators to focus on the complex and time consuming legal issues related to these cases. Both units use vertical prosecution, meaning one prosecutor handles the case from intake to trial. This approach lessens the trauma to the victim by reducing the number of times the victim needs to retell their story.
The team’s experience, motivation and dedication to these sensitive cases give citizens of Orange and Osceola counties a greater chance of reaching their desired case disposition. The Felony Bureau of the Ninth Circuit State Attorney also partners with the Orange and Osceola Child Advocacy Center to educate and support other agencies and the community in the areas of child abuse, neglect, and prevention. This office has contributed to both advocacy centers to help insure the mental health and safety of all children.
Felony Assistant State Attorneys are proud of their efforts to do what is right, without concern for statistics or appearances. In order to maximize our resources, an innovative approach was taken to assign newly hired prosecutors straight to felony. This enables the new Assistant State Attorneys to learn from the most experienced prosecutors while appearing before Circuit judges, but with smaller caseloads. Experienced felony prosecutors who rise up through the ranks serve as mentors for other prosecutors.
The Felony Bureau is comprised of a team of 73 Assistant State Attorneys and about 46 legal support team members. The Bureau is further divided into 12 divisions between Orange and Osceola counties. Each division has about 400 cases set for trial at any time, and each felony prosecutor can have an individual caseload of 40 to 200 cases set for trial. In recent years, the Ninth Circuit State Attorney’s Felony Bureau has been one of the leading circuits in the number of felony cases brought to trial.