Certification Requirements & Application Information for Court Appointed Attorneys

The following sections list the certification requirements for all of the case types and categories of cases available for court appointed attorneys. Please read each requirement carefully. On the application you submit to Court Administration you are certifying that you meet each and every requirement, including length of bar membership, CLE's within the specified time frames and trial experience for every category of cases that you select. You may be asked to provide documentation to prove that you meet these requirements at any time.

Please note that the certification requirements have been merged with the Justice Administrative Commission (JAC) case category codes. These categories and case codes were developed by the JAC. Each circuit has been instructed to use these categories and case codes when submitting names to the JAC for inclusion on the Circuit Court Appointed Registry. Please direct all questions and inquiries about these categories and case codes to the JAC at 1-866-355-7902 or 850-488-2415. Court Administration is unable to explain or define these categories and case codes to you.

Effective July 1, 2015, the category “Children With Certain Special Needs” has been added as a category of cases that the circuit is responsible for maintaining. It has been added under the Dependency and Termination of Parental Rights section.

Once your application is reviewed and approved you will be notified by Court Administration. If your application is not approved, you will be notified of the deficiencies which must be corrected in order to be approved. Failure to remedy the deficiencies will result in your application being rejected.

Once approved, you must sign a contract with the Justice Administrative Commission (JAC) if you want to be paid for your services. After Court Administration has received confirmation that the JAC contract has been signed, we will notify the clerk's offices to add you to the court appointed registry.

Adult Criminal Cases and Criminal Appeals – Certification Requirements

  1. Misdemeanor Categories
    1. Misdemeanor - case code 836
    2. VOP Misdemeanor (includes VOCC) - case code 843
    3. Criminal Traffic - case code 877
    4. VOP Misdemeanor (includes VOCC criminal traffic) - case code 916
      • Length of Bar Membership – 1 year or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Trial Experience -- 3 jury or non-jury trials or Observed 2 trials and 2 sentencing hearings (certified by the lawyer handling the cases)
  2. APPEALS - Misdemeanor Appeal Categories
    1. Misdemeanor Appeals - case code 856
    2. Misdemeanor Appeals (criminal traffic) - case code 917
      • Length of Bar Membership – 2 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Appellate Law or a combination of 5 hours Appellate Law and 5 hours Criminal Law.
      • Trial Experience -- 3 criminal appeals or 5 criminal trials or a combination of 5 hours Appellate Law and 5 hours Criminal Law.
  3. Third and Second Degree Felony Categories
    1. Felony - 2nd Degree - case code 861
    2. Felony - 3rd Degree - case code 841
    3. Felony VOP (includes VOCC) - case code 844
      • Length of Bar Membership – 2 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Trial Experience -- 5 criminal trials, 2 of which are felony jury trials as either lead counsel or second chair.
  4. First Degree Felony, Life Felony, RICO Life Felony, First Degree Murder Cases Where the Death Penalty Has Been Waived At the Time of Appointment; and Cases Under Part V, Chapter 394 (Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators) Categories
    1. Felony - Life - case code 871
    2. Felony - Punishable by Life - case code 898
    3. Felony - 1st Degree - case code 854
    4. Felony - Life/RICO - case code 923
    5. Felony - Punishable by Life/RICO - case code 922
    6. Felony - 1st Degree/RICO - case code 921
    7. Postconviction - Rules 3.850 and 3.800 at trial and appellate level (also includes postconviction petitions for habeas corpus and petitions for belated appeal) - case code 852
    8. Sexual Violent Predator - case code 845
      • Length of Bar Membership – 5 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Percent of Practice -- 50% of practice devoted to criminal law.
      • Trial Experience -- 15 criminal trials, 10 of which shall be jury trials, and at least 5 of the jury trials in felony cases.
  5. APPEALS - Felony Appeal, Non-Capital Appeal and Sexual Violent Predator Appeal Categories
    1. Felony Appeals - case code 842
    2. Felony Appeals - RICO - case code 924
    3. Sexual Violent Predator Appeals - case code 870
      • Length of Bar Membership – 3 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Appellate Law.
      • Trial Experience -- 5 criminal appeals or 10 criminal trials, at least 5 of which are felonies, and 3 criminal appeals.
  6. Capital Case Categories
    1. 1st Degree Murder (Lead Counsel ) - case code 869
    2. 1st Degree Murder ( Co-counsel) - case code 882
    3. Capital Sexual Battery - case code 874
    4. Capital (Non-death other than Capital Sexual Battery) - case code 838 LEAD COUNSEL
      • 5 years of litigation experience in the field of criminal law.
      • Prior experience as lead counsel in no fewer than 9 state or federal jury trials of serious and complex cases, which were tried to completion, as well as prior experience as lead defense counsel or co-counsel in at least 2 state or federal cases tried to completion in which the death penalty was sought.
      • Of the 9 jury trials which were tried to completion, attorney should have been lead counsel in at least 3 cases in which the charge was murder; or alternatively, of the 9 jury trials, at least one was a murder trial and an additional 5 were felony jury trials.
      • Lead Counsel CLE Requirement -- 12 hours of Criminal Law (specifically devoted to the defense of capital cases) during the preceding 24 months. CO-COUNSEL
      • 3 years of litigation experience in the field of criminal law.
      • Prior experience as lead counsel or co-counsel in no fewer than 3 state or federal jury trials of serious and complex cases, which were tried to completion, at least 2 cases in which the charge was murder; or alternatively, of the 3 jury trials, at least 1 was a murder trial and 1 was a felony jury trial.
      • Co-Counsel CLE Requirement -- 12 hours of Criminal Law (specifically devoted to the defense of capital cases) during the preceding 24 months.
  7. APPEALS - Capital Appeals Category - case code 857
    • Length of Bar Membership – 5 years or more
    • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of criminal Appellate Law in the preceding 12 months AND 12 hours defending capital cases in the preceding 24 months.
    • Percent of Practice -- 33% of practice devoted to criminal law.
    • Trial Experience -- 5 years experience in criminal law AND 1 prior appeal in a death penalty case AND prior experience as lead counsel in 3 felony appeals, at least 1 of which involved a murder conviction AND prior experience as lead counsel in the appeal of 6 felonies, at least two of which involved murder convictions.
  8. Other Criminal Cases Category
    1. Contempt Proceedings - case code 863
    2. Extradition - case code 883
      • Length of Bar Membership – 1 year or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Trial Experience -- 3 jury or non-jury trials or observed 2 trials and 2 sentencing hearings (certified by the lawyer handling the cases).

Juvenile Delinquency Criminal Cases and Appeals - Certification Requirements

  1. Misdemeanor Category
    1. Juvenile Delinquency - Misdemeanor - case code 847
    2. VOP Juvenile Delinquency (includes VOCC) - case code 897
      • Length of Bar Membership – 1 year or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Trial Experience -- 3 delinquency trials or state jury or non-jury trials or observed 2 trials and 2 disposition hearings (certified by the lawyer handling the cases).
  2. Third and Second Degree Felony Categories
    1. Juvenile Delinquency - 3rd Degree Felony - case code 878
    2. Juvenile Delinquency - 2nd Degree Felony - case code 848
      • Length of Bar Membership – 2 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Trial Experience -- 5 delinquency trials or state or jury or non-jury criminal trials.
  3. First Degree and Life Felony Categories
    1. Juvenile Delinquency - 1st Degree Felony - case code 846
    2. Juvenile Delinquency - Felony Life - case code 839
      • Length of Bar Membership – 3 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Criminal Law during the preceding 12 months.
      • Percent of Practice -- 50% of practice devoted to criminal law.
      • Trial Experience -- 10 trials, at least 5 of which are felonies and 5 of which are delinquency trials.
  4. APPEALS - Juvenile Delinquency Appeals Category - case code 835
    • Length of Bar Membership – 3 years or more
    • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours of Appellate Law.
    • Trial Experience -- 3 criminal appeals or 5 criminal trials, at least 3 of which are delinquencies.

Dependency, Termination of Parental Rights and Other Children's Civil Proceedings and Appeals - Certification Requirements

  1. Dependency and Termination of Parental Rights Category
    1. Dependency - case code 849
    2. Termination of Parental Rights - Ch. 39, F.S. - case code 858
    3. Termination of Parental Rights - Ch. 63, F.S. - case code 866
      • Length of Bar Membership – 5 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours including at least 3 hours earned at the Child Protection Summit within preceding 18 months.
      • Percent of Practice -- 25% of practice devoted to dependency or termination of parental rights.
      • Trial Experience -- Lead counsel in at least 5 dependency trials and 5 termination of parental rights cases during the preceding 3 years.
  2. APPEALS - Dependency and Termination of Parental Rights Appeals Category
    1. Dependency Appeals - case code 881
    2. TPR Appeals - case code 859
      • Length of Bar Membership – 2 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 3 hours at the Child Protection Summit or an equivalent in the preceding 18 months.
      • Percent of Practice -- At least 25% of current practice is devoted to dependency or appellate law.
      • Trial Experience -- Three years experience in dependency or appellate law and must have been lead counsel in at least three contested dependency trials and three contested termination of parental rights trials or demonstrate knowledge through practice of family law.
  3. Children With Certain Special Needs – case code 1000
    • Length of Bar Membership – 5 years or more
    • CLE Requirement – Within the last two years, have attended at least 10 hours of continuing legal education devoted to the legal needs of children at least 5 hours of which were devoted to representation of children with special needs or disabilities, and at least 1 hour of which was devoted to ethics related to the representation of children.
    • Percent of Practice -- 25% of practice devoted to dependency or termination of parental rights or representing children with certain special needs.
    • Trial Experience -- Lead counsel in at least 5 dependency trials and 5 termination of parental rights cases during the preceding 3 years and at least one of the following: 
      1. At least 1 year experience representing children in dependency cases within the last 5 years; or
      2. Are currently supervised by an attorney that has at least 1 year experience representing children in dependency cases; or
      3. Have observed at least 30 hours of hearings in dependency cases including at least 1 shelter hearing, 1 dependency adjudicatory hearing, 1 judicial review hearing, 1 hearing pursuant to either rule 8.350 or 8.355, Fla.R.Juv.P., and 1 termination of parental rights trial, all within the past 3 years.
    • Additional Requirement - Have reviewed the Florida Guidelines of Practice for Lawyers Who Represent Children in Abuse and Neglect Cases.
  4. Other Children's Civil Proceedings Category
    1. CINS/FINS - Ch. 984, F.S. - case code 873
    2. Emancipation - Section 43.015, F.S. - case code 880
    3. Parental Notification of Abortion Act - case code 906
      • Length of Bar Membership – 5 years or more
      • CLE Requirement -- 10 hours including at least 3 hours earned at the Child Protection Summit within preceding 18 months.
      • Percent of Practice -- 25% of practice devoted to dependency or termination of parental rights.
      • Trial Experience -- Lead counsel in at least 5 dependency and/or termination of parental rights cases during the preceding 3 years