About Our Office
Nancy Daniels is the fifth Public Defender to serve the Second Judicial Circuit. When Daniels was first elected in 1990, she was Florida's first female public defender. Her predecessors were: Richard W. Ervin, III (1963-1976), Michael J. Minerva (1976-1981), Michael E. Allen (1981-1989), and Barbara Linthicum (1990).
As public defender, Daniels has to be a lawyer, politician and administrator. That combination of duties may seem overwhelming to some, but not Daniels. “I love it but there are certainly challenges. We're operating in the midst of an adversarial system. So we're constantly debating and fighting with prosecutors and probation officers and judges and the court.”
The Office of Public Defender, Second Judicial Circuit, came into existence in 1963 following the United States Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), holding that the United States Constitution required the state to supply lawyers for those criminal defendants who could not afford to hire counsel. Originally, the Public Defender's responsibilities were to represent indigents accused of noncapital felonies. Through case law and statutes, the Public Defender's duties have grown, and now include:
- Representing every indigent citizen charged with a crime, felony or misdemeanor, in the Circuit and County courts of Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties in any case that involves the possibility of incarceration.
- Representing juveniles charged with delinquency in the Juvenile Division of the six counties of the circuit.
- Representing indgient persons in civil commitment proceedings in the Circuit Courts of the six counties, as well as in administrative proceedings at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.
- Representing indigent persons in civil commitment proceedings involving alleged sexually violent predators in cases arising in the six counties of the circuit.
- Representing persons who are appealing their convictions, involuntary commitments or delinquency adjudications obtained in the Circuit Courts of the 32 counties within the jurisdiction of the District Court of Appeal, First District of Florida as well as in the Supreme Court of Florida and occasionally the federal courts.
The Public Defender is elected for a term of four years and runs for office in presidential election years.
The mission of the Public Defender is to provide high-quality legal representation to each client.