This Week in South Florida: Dennis Ward and Carlos Martinez

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Unless you are plugged into the world of courts and criminal justice, it’s a good bet you don’t yet know that the state of Florida is considering merging some of its 20 circuits, or why that matters.

The house speaker advanced that idea, and Florida’s Supreme Court chief justice convened a committee to hear input.

And that committee did, on Friday in Orlando. About 50 speakers all told the committee some version of “please don’t do it.”

That followed a flood of letters saying the same.

The speaker had outlined the idea as a way to save money, be more efficient and more standardized, prosecuting and defending criminals and judging cases.

Remember all those who do that, states attorneys, public defenders, judges, are elected by local voters.

Perhaps now you start to see why a state move to rearrange things can raise concerns of political maneuvering.

Add to that the Republican governor who has now suspended and removed two of Florida’s Democrat state attorneys. Does the state need better, more efficient criminal justice circuits?

This was one of several topics discussed by Miami-Dade County public defender Carlos Martinez and Monroe County State Attorney Dennis Ward.

They joined This Week in South Florida host Glenna Milberg and their conversation can be seen at the top of this page.


The public can participate by providing input through the online survey submitted by Sept. 1.

  • Go to, click on administration and funding, and it’s the second link – Judicial Circuit Assessment Committee.
  • The public can also provide input by emailing


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."