The Florida Bar Foundation is proud to sponsor the Florida Court Public Information Officers (FCPIO) Conference Aug. 21-23, 2019 in Fort Myers, Fla. FCPIO promotes discussion among Florida’s court public information officers and meets regularly to discuss emerging developments in court and media relations with a special focus on Florida’s uniquely broad public records and public meetings laws and court rules. FCPIO was founded with a grant from the Foundation in 2007.
In 2018, PIOs improved the administration of justice in several ways:
- The First Judicial Circuit, in concert with other agencies, held two driver’s license clinics, designed to help members of the public restore their driving privileges. It also held mock trial competitions. In Okaloosa County, one of their judges participates in an initiative to educate foreign dignitaries on the U.S. court system when they visit the local Air Force base.
- In the Second Judicial Circuit, tours for school groups are held through the Classroom to Courtroom program, bringing a legal/Judicial Branch curriculum to approximately 2,500 7th graders each year.
- In the 5th Circuit, mock trials for school groups and summer camp participants are held.
- The 10th Circuit hosted many different groups for tours to include students/educational groups as well as professional organizations and senior groups. Additionally, they hosted and facilitated student mock trial competitions and judges participated in the Great American Teach-In as well as Polk State College scholarship presentations at local elementary school graduation ceremonies. The law library hosted several free family law clinics as well as a bi-monthly Arts4VETS program at which veterans and their families are invited to come to the law library for free therapeutic painting sessions.
- The 11th Circuit held a Drive Legal program summer promotion called “Weekly Walk-In Day” to help folks get on the path to a valid license more quickly.
- The 12th Circuit established a Comprehensive Treatment Court in Sarasota County in 2017.
- The 15th Circuit’s community education and outreach programs have included extensive web-based public information; increased use of social media; juror orientation educational videos; educational courthouse tours for middle and high school students as well as community groups; mock trials for law schools, high schools and National Mock Trial competitions; shadow-a-judge experiences; One Judge-One School opportunities; Youth Law Day events for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth; summer educational programs for juvenile offenders; civics presentations at local middle and high schools; as well as Media Workshops for local new organizations.
- The 3rd DCA, in partnership with the Miami Chapter of ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates), brought more than a dozen high schools (and more than 300 students) to the Third DCA to experience oral arguments, speak with the attorneys, and meet with the judges following court. The program has grown each year and the local ABOTA chapter is now seeking to expand the program to chapters across Florida. The Third DCA holds oral argument sessions at each of the local law schools and provides follow-up sessions for the law students to meet and speak with the attorneys and judges. The court also hosts moot court competitions from University of Miami Law School, Florida International University School of Law, and St. Thomas Law School.