The Criminal Law Section was created in 1976 to provide a forum for Bar members with a common interest in criminal law. The Section is committed to the improvement of individual trial skills and the administration of justice. Section activities foster a high standard of ethical conduct in all members of the profession who participate in the criminal justice system.
Jenny Dorminy, 850-561-5619
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Section Activities & Programs
The Executive Council meets three times per year, during Florida Bar meetings in January, June, and September. All members are invited to attend. Check the Bar calendar for dates and times of meetings.
Gerald T. Bennett Trial Skills Training Program
The Section sponsors a unique trial skills training course for Assistant State Attorneys and Assistant Public Defenders. The late Professor Bennett, of the University of Florida Law School, created the program based on teaching methodologies developed by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. The course features criminal case studies, mock trial exercises, critiques by a team of prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges, as well as individual review of videotaped presentations. Instructors are volunteers from the ranks of highly experienced Section members. The course has been offered since 1979 and has trained more than 1700 government lawyers in the field of criminal law, at no cost to the students. Attendance is based on recommendations by elected agency heads. The course is held in August at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law, in Gainesville.
The Section participates in an exchange program with Oxford University in England, whereby barristers attend the Gerald T. Bennett trial skills program and Section members are selected to attend a similar program in Oxford, as students and instructors. The student receives a scholarship for travel expenses. Scholarship recipients must have attended the Bennett training program, agree to teach in the program, have five years of experience in a criminal prosecution or defense agency, and receive the nomination of the agency head.
Gerald T. Bennett Criminal Justice Summit
The Section held its first annual Summit on Criminal Justice Issues in June 2003. Established by past Section Chair Professor Stephen Everhart, the Summit is named for Professor Bennett, who encouraged practitioners to critically analyze the criminal justice system, in theory and application.
Selig I. Goldin Award
The Section annually recognizes a member of the legal community who has made a substantial contribution to the criminal justice system. It is given in memory of Mr. Goldin’s outstanding competence, service, and compassion.