Thursday, September 10, 2015

End troubling record of arresting children for minor offenses

Public Defender Robert Wesley speaking
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, my office held a press conference to discuss the troubling record of arrests of juveniles for minor offenses in the Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, which covers Orange and Osceola counties. We have more arrests of juveniles – including the 5- to 10-year-old category – than elsewhere in Florida.

During that meeting I also explained that a civil citation is the best way to address these minor offenses and reminded everyone that starting Oct. 1 police will be required to issue civil citations to children, or to justify in writing why a child should be arrested.

Here’s news media coverage of that meeting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

More 5- to 10-year-olds arrested in Orlando than elsewhere in Florida

Orange-Osceola Public Defender Robert Wesley will hold a press conference Wednesday, Sept. 9, to call for police to stop arresting local children for minor offenses.

The 9th Judicial Circuit, which includes Orange and Osceola counties, arrests more children between the ages of 5 and 10 than Florida’s other 19 judicial circuits. The population of the 9th Judicial Circuit is the 3rd largest in Florida -- behind Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Police in many other Florida counties rely on civil remedies to help youngsters accused of minor offenses. Studies show that arresting children pushes them out of school and into the prison pipeline. There are currently 100,000 people in Florida’s state prisons.

The press conference on Wednesday starts at 11 a.m. in the courtroom at the Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University College of Law at 201 Beggs Ave., next to downtown Orlando’s federal courthouse.

Mr. Wesley was elected Public Defender to provide legal representation for needy people in criminal cases; involuntary mental health and addiction commitments and juvenile delinquency cases.