Katherine Fernandez Rundle
Miami-Dade County State Attorney
Katherine Fernandez Rundle has served Miami-Dade County as State Attorney since 1993. Prior to her initial appointment and after several promotions through the different divisions within the office during her 15 years as an Assistant State Attorney, she became legal counsel to the Dade County Grand Jury. As such, State Attorney Fernandez Rundle presented hundreds of murder and capital cases and oversaw the issuance of reports that initiated major reforms in such areas as juvenile justice. She has subsequently been reelected five times to her post and is the first female Hispanic State Attorney in the State of Florida. Ms. Fernandez Rundle was recently elected to a three year term on the Criminal Justice Council of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association.
Her strong leadership and devotion to preventing crime and the increased focus and successful prosecution of career criminals are hallmarks of her administration. Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Fernandez Rundle helped write and pass the Florida Punishment Code which allowed judges to issue stronger sentences when the crime made such actions appropriate; she led the successful effort to pass the state constitutional amendment to give local governments the right to insure that gun sales at gun shows do not allow weapons to fall into the hands of criminals and juveniles; she has been a leader in creating programs to give the victims of crime greater accessibility to the criminal court system; and was instrumental in ensuring that Miami-Dade's celebrated Drug Court became reality. She also successfully created the State’s first truancy intervention program to help school children avoid juvenile delinquency. This Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) was the first of its kind in the state to partner prosecutors and school administrators together in the effort to prevent crime and further a child’s education.
State Attorney Fernandez Rundle was a key partner in the creation of Miami-Dade’s Juvenile Assessment Center. This facility is intended to improve the working of our juvenile justice system by collecting sufficient information on juvenile offenders in order to develop better overall justice programming, better diversion programs and create effective juvenile sentencing alternatives for offenders. Ms. Fernandez Rundle helped pass the legislation that created the Civil Citation Program to prevent juveniles who commit non-violent misdemeanors from getting a criminal arrest record while at the same time ensuring they get the services needed to deter them from future delinquent actions. As a part of the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Crime Task Force, she helped create a new pilot program aimed at juveniles who have been arrested with guns in their possession. Recognizing the need to intervene with these kids before they commit a crime with a firearm, she brought the State Attorney’s Office into a partnership with the Ryder Trauma Center of Jackson Memorial Hospital, aiming to bring the reality of living as a victim of gun violence back to those juveniles who are on the edge of potential violence.
Other innovative programs to help prevent crime and provide rehabilitative opportunities such as Drug Court, the Second Chance Sealing and Expungement program, and the S.T.A.R.T Program, a program created last year in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools designed to empower school aged-children by educating them on alternatives to violence and crime, have all been established under the direction of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Ms. Fernandez Rundle has long recognized that the need to help children also entails getting them the financial support to which they were legally entitled. As the only State Attorney in Florida operating a Child Support Enforcement Office, she recognized the urgent need to make the pursuit of delinquent child support payments easier. State Attorney Fernandez Rundle created legislation that added such orders to the Florida Crime Information Computer (FCIC) accessible to every Florida police officer. This made every traffic stop in Florida an opportunity to provide needy children with their court ordered support. Those who refused to support their children and ignored a court order now faced a greater potential of arrest and appearance before a judge.
The State Attorney’s philosophical convictions include sharing her time, influence, and resources with her community that she is passionate about. She is a founding member and Vice-President of Women of Tomorrow, a mentoring program that looks to inspire and motivate young at-risk high school women. Ms. Fernandez Rundle is also active in important organizations such as The Children’s Trust, Amigos For Kids, City Year Miami, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and numerous others.