Miami-Dade Public Defender, State Attorney offices continue to ask the state for higher salaries

Miami-Dade State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, was joined by several other South Florida state attorneys, public defenders, and community leaders asking for state lawmakers to increase budgets for paying assistant state attorneys and public defenders.

MIAMI – Miami-Dade State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, was joined by several other South Florida state attorneys, public defenders, and community leaders asking for state lawmakers to increase budgets for paying assistant state attorneys and public defenders.

The starting salary is set by the state at 50-thousand dollars which they say is the second-lowest starting salary for these jobs in the United States and is a major problem in South Florida where the cost of living is high.

Both Miami-Dade state attorney and public defender say they are losing attorneys at an unsustainable rate and that salaries set by the state are so low, they’re having trouble recruiting new people to fill empty slots.

“What happens is there’s a crisis of confidence because people are changing attorneys over and over again and when it gets to a certain point people just give up,” Martinez said.

These factors are forcing seasoned attorneys to find different work just to support their families which leads to a lot of turnover in these offices.

“It really breaks my heart when I hear a victim come and say you know I’ve been with 7 lawyers on my case, it’s taken all these years,” Fernandez Rundle said.

The Miami-Dade state attorneys office and public defenders office lost a combined 147 attorneys just in 2021.

They are now begging state lawmakers to increase their budget for salaries by 10-thousand dollars per employee, that way they can offer a competitive living wage to bring in new staff and keep those they already have.


About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.