OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsels

The Florida Legislature enacted Ch. 2007-62, Laws of Florida, (s. 27.511, Florida Statutes), to create a system of court-appointed counsel to represent indigent defendants, primarily in those cases where the public defender has a conflict. The act established five Offices of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, which coincide with the geographic boundaries of the five District Courts of Appeal. Each office is headed by a Regional Counsel, who is appointed to a four-year term by the Governor from a list of two to five qualified candidates provided by the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission and the current Regional Counsel.

When the Office of the Public Defender determines there is a conflict of interest, the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel shall be appointed by the judge to represent any indigent defendant who is under arrest for or charged with:

  • a felony;
  • a misdemeanor authorized for prosecution by the state attorney; Ch. 316, Florida Statutes (State Uniform Traffic Control), punishable by imprisonment;
  • criminal contempt; or
  • a violation of a special law or county or municipal ordinance ancillary to a state charge.

The Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel also has responsibility for persons entitled to court-appointed counsel under the federal or state Constitution or as authorized by general law in civil proceedings, such as proceedings to terminate parental rights.