An administrative law judge says Florida is illegally shifting millions of dollars in juvenile detention costs to the state's 67 counties.
A Department of Juvenile Justice spokeswoman Wednesday said the agency was reviewing the decision and had not yet decided whether to appeal.
Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins ruled on Tuesday in Tallahassee that a department rule improperly requires counties to pay for detention until a juvenile is committed. The state then assumes those costs.
Watkins noted state law says the dividing line is "final court disposition," which often comes after a commitment decision.
He wrote that counties were overcharged as much as $18.35 million in the 2008-09 budget year and up to $5.4 million in 2009-10. Those are the last years for which figures were submitted to him.