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Miami Herald Opinion/Editorial:
Paying law-and-order public servants low salaries comes at a high — and dangerous — cost

Photo: Katherine Fernandez Rundle Headshot 2

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle

As Florida comes out of recent social discord and the pandemic-induced fog that settled over our communities and businesses, we have only just begun to recognize the less overt impact of these events.

Everyone is looking to hire workers, offering competitive salaries and sign-on bonuses. This is obvious when you drive by businesses, such as trucking firms, supermarkets — and even hospitals — all declaring “We’re Hiring!”

A less visible labor problem is affecting our criminal-justice system. Today, those who make Florida’s criminal courts function — our assistant state attorneys (ASAs) and assistant public defenders (APDs) — are leaving public service faster than others can be trained to replace them. Their unacceptably low salaries are a serious problem.

For crime victims and criminal defendants, ASAs and APDs are the primary voices speaking for them. A shrinking number of prosecutors means crime victims face lengthy delays before getting their day in court. These delays add to the emotional and psychological scarring that crime victimization inevitably creates. Many victims give up, causing their cases to fall apart and forcing us to drop the charges. For those who have suffered at the hands of a perpetrator, justice delayed, delayed and delayed again truly is justice denied.

State Attorney Fernandez Rundle’s opinion editorial appeared in the Miami Herald. Click here to continue reading. 

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