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U.S. Southern District public defender seeks reappointment


The current four-year term of Michael Caruso, federal public defender for the Southern District of Florida at Miami, expires August 15, 2020.

In accordance with regulations of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit governing the appointment and reappointment of federal public defenders, a review committee has been established to evaluate Caruso’s performance in consideration of his request to be reappointed to a new four-year term. The committee is soliciting written comments from members of the Bar and concerned citizens about the performance of Caruso and his office staff. If requested, the identity of a respondent to this solicitation will not be divulged without prior consent. However, Caruso will be provided with a general description of the source and nature of any comments.

Comments should be submitted to James P. Gerstenlauer, Circuit Executive, United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, 56 Forsyth Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, and must be received in the Circuit Executive’s Office no later than November 29.

Although Caruso does seek reappointment, there is no presumptive right to reappointment. Therefore, the position will be advertised to the Bar and general public. Accordingly, the court is soliciting applications for this position from qualified persons. The court encourages applications from all qualified persons, including women, members of minority groups, and individuals with disabilities. All applications, including the application of the incumbent federal public defender, will be subjected to the same standard of review. The current salary is $166,500. Federal public defenders may not engage in the private practice of law and are subject to judiciary financial disclosure requirements.

To qualify for appointment as the federal public defender applicants must:

a. be members in good standing of at least one state bar or the District of Columbia or the Virgin Islands bar, and members in good standing of every other bar of which they are members;

b. have been engaged in the active practice of criminal law for a period of at least five years, preferably with significant federal criminal trial and appellate experience;

c. possess the ability to administer a Federal Public Defender’s office effectively;

d. possess, and have a reputation for:

(1) integrity and good character;

(2) sound physical and mental health;

(3) commitment to equal justice under law and vigorous representation of his or her clients;

(4) outstanding legal ability and competence (evidenced by substantial legal experience, ability to deal with complex legal problems, aptitude for legal scholarship and writing, and familiarity with courts and court processes);

e. have a commitment to the vigorous representation of those unable to afford counsel; and

f. not be related by blood or marriage to a judge of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals or to a judge of the district court to be served, within the degrees specified in Title 28, United States Code, Section 458 at the time of the initial appointment.

Applications are available at; from any federal Clerk of Court in the states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia; and from the Circuit Executive James P. Gerstenlauer, 56 Forsyth Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. Applications should be submitted in confidence to the circuit executive and must be received in the Circuit Executive’s Office no later than November 29. Email and fax copies of applications will not be accepted.

The United States Courts are equal opportunity employers.

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