Message from Michael Caruso
I have been privileged to serve as Florida’s Southern District Federal Public Defender since my appointment by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012. Our office is dedicated to effectively representing our clients and assisting them with compassion in navigating the complex legal system. We hope this website answers your questions and gives you the resources you need to move forward.
“From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.” – Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 344 (1963).
There are more than 2.3 million Americans behind bars in the United States—which is the highest rate in the world. This level of mass incarceration has direct and significant consequences for the individuals imprisoned and their families as well as for all of our society. The role of defense counsel is to provide representation for those accused at every stage of the criminal process and to ensure that all defendants have a fair trial.
The Federal Public Defender’s Office represents individuals who cannot afford to hire a lawyer in federal criminal cases. We are appointed to cases by the judges of the Southern District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Through zealous and vigorous advocacy, our clients get the representation they need and we strive to make the justice system fairer.