Public Defenders for Juvenile Delinquents in Florida

The recipient of a JD from the Stetson College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, Judge Michael Kalil became a judge in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit in January 2021. Before becoming a court circuit judge, Michael Kalil served as an attorney at the Law Offices of John Kalil, P.A. Early in his career, Michael Kalil served as an assistant public defender.

In Florida, public defenders represent children “alleged to be…delinquent.” The role of public defenders is to satisfy an indigent defendant’s right to an attorney as required by the constitution. Juvenile delinquency occurs when a child younger than 18 does something that would be considered a violation of the law if done by an adult.

The state generally pays public defenders. Some counties, however, may supplement the services of public defenders. The Florida Guidelines of Practice for Attorneys who Represent Children in Delinquency Proceedings entail specific responsibilities expected of attorneys who represent indigent juveniles in delinquency proceedings. The guidelines are not regulations but rather suggestions that help public defenders represent each child properly.

Determination of Indigence – Juvenile Delinquency in Florida

A Jacksonville, Florida, resident and attorney with a background in product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases, Judge Michael Kalil earned his JD from the Stetson College of Law in Florida. Since joining the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Florida as a circuit court judge, Michael Kalil has presided over the Delinquency Court and Dependency Court.

In the case of juvenile delinquency, Florida does not automatically assume a child is indigent. While the law requires that all delinquent juveniles have access to counsel and be represented by an attorney, the state will pay for a public defender only if the child’s parent or guardian is facing significant hardship or has an income of less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. If this is the case, the parent or guardian will be a candidate for indigent defense and will only need to pay an application fee to the clerk. If the application is approved, the minor will be assigned an attorney by the court.

If the parents or guardians are not indigent, they must provide legal services for the youth without the state’s assistance. If they fail to do so, the court will appoint an attorney on behalf of the minor, and the parents/guardians will be liable for all associated fees. The government will impose the debt in the form of a lien against the properties of the parents or guardians.

The Circuit Courts in Florida

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Michael Kalil has served in the legal field for many years. From 2009 to 2011, he was an assistant public defender in Jacksonville before joining the Law Offices of John Kalil, P.A as a civil trial lawyer. In January 2021, Michael Kalil was elected the Circuit Court Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Florida court system has several layers, each with a distinct judicial role: the Supreme Court, five district courts of appeal, twenty circuit courts, and 67 county courts.

Circuit courts in Florida deal with judicial matters that have not been assigned by law to the state’s county courts. They also hear appeals coming from the lower courts. Some Florida circuits are made up of several counties.

The Fourth Judicial Circuit Court is the sixth-largest in Florida and is recognized among the state’s most efficient trial courts. Circuit cases are heard by 55 judges; 20 at the county level and 35 at the circuit level.

Jacksonville Bar Association Mission and Services

As an assistant public defender in the Office of the Public Defender of Jacksonville, Florida, Judge Michael Kalil tried 29 trials before joining the Law Offices of John Kalil, P.A., where he worked as a civil trial attorney. An alumnus of the University of North Florida, Judge Michael Kalil is a member of College Leadership Florida (class VI), a part of Leadership Florida. He is also a Jacksonville Bar Association member.

Organized in 1897, the Jacksonville Bar Association has the mission of serving members in the practice of law, fostering respect for the legal profession, and aiding in the administration of justice. Membership is all-inclusive and promotes regular participation in association activities.

The Jacksonville Bar Association serves as the forum for the legal profession and explores innovative ways to better serve members and the public. For example, the association’s lawyer referral service can refer a person needing legal advice to a lawyer for a 30-minute consultation. After the consultation, the person may choose to retain that lawyer if they decide that they need further services at a mutually agreed upon fee.

The Delinquency Court Process in Florida

A circuit court judge in the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Jacksonville, Florida, Michael Kalil has a JD from Stetson College of Law. While an undergraduate, he was awarded the Stetson College of Law Certificate in Leadership Development. The attorney was also awarded the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award for over 200 hours of community service. Judge Michael Kalil is a circuit court judge presiding over the dependency court and the delinquency court.

When a youth is charged with breaking the law or taken into custody for a delinquent act, they may be handed a civil citation if the offense is a first-time misdemeanor. However, if the youth admits to the alleged violation of law, the delinquency court might move directly to a disposition hearing.

A judge will preside over those cases throughout the matter without a jury. The judge determines the type of sanctions to be imposed on the youth, which may include home detention, restitution, probation, community service, or commitment.

Rather than being found guilty of crimes, juveniles are adjudicated delinquent. If the acts involve serious crimes or felonies, they are not committed to prison but sent to a reformatory or training school. The federal government retains some jurisdiction over a number of crimes committed by juveniles, such as those occurring in national parks.

Youth Offense and Assessment – the Juvenile Justice Process in Florida

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A circuit court judge in the Jacksonville, Florida, Fourth Judicial Circuit, Michael Kalil, worked in the Law Offices of John S. Kalil as an attorney before becoming a judge. In his current position, Michael Kalil presides over the Delinquency Court, which involves juveniles accused of committing a crime.

In Florida, juvenile justice is supported by the Office of Court Improvement Delinquency Division, which is responsible for training judges and court staff members, enhancing court services, and helping minors and their families understand more about the juvenile justice process. The process starts the moment a minor is taken into custody after being charged with a violation of the law.

The young person may be released to a probation office or alternative diversion program, given a civil citation for a first-time misdemeanor, or taken to a Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). At the JAC, the young person is further evaluated by a juvenile probation officer who gathers information about the minor’s family, the violation, and other relevant factors. The probation officer may choose to place the young person in a secure setting, a nonsecure setting, or home detention, depending on the criteria and gathered information.

An Overview of the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida

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Judge Michael Kalil earned his JD from Stetson College of Law in Florida. In 2009, he became a practicing attorney. Prior to his service and election as a judge, Judge Michael Kalil served as a civil trial lawyer for the Law Offices of John S. Kalil, P.A. and before that was an Assistant Public Defender in Duval County. He focused on personal injury and wrongful death law while practicing as a civil trial lawyer. In 2020, Judge Michael Kalil was elected to the Circuit Court, Fourth Judicial District, Group 8, in Duval County Florida. The Circuit Court has jurisdiction over the counties of Duval, Clay, and Nassau county.

Judge Michael Kalil is assigned to the Delinquency and Dependency bench, handling cases involving juveniles, whether they are accused of committing a delinquent act, or if there is an accusation the child has been abused, neglected, or abandoned by a parent or parents. Judge Michael Kalil has served as the delinquency and dependency Judge in Duval County since January 2021.

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