Circuit Criminal

Circuit Criminal

The Circuit Criminal Divisions are responsible for all felony matters. A felony is any crime punishable by more than one year in state prison. Felony offenses include Murder, Sexual Offenses, Robbery, Burglary, Theft, Forgery, Fraud, Crimes Against Persons, Worthless Checks Over $150.00, Crimes Against Property, Drugs, etc.

Circuit Criminal judges are located in the North Wing of the Central Courthouse.

The Circuit Criminal Division hears major criminal (felony) cases where the resulting penalty can be imprisonment in a state penitentiary or death

The 17th Judicial Circuit Felony Mental Health court was the first of its kind in the nation. The court was created on October 17, 2003 by Administrative Order to provide services for those persons charged with felony offenses who have been deemed incompetent to proceed. Court services include competency restoration, case management, linkage to mental health out- patient and residential treatment, assistance with housing, therapy and medication management. When requested, the court also commits defendants, where appropriate, to forensic hospital care.

The court works with the person charged, their family, the victim, and community mental health providers to create an individualized cost-effective plan of treatment for a defendant suffering from mental health issues. Agencies and providers in the mental health court include Henderson and Archways, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, the Broward County elderly and veterans services, the Florida Department of corrections, probation and parole services, the Office of the State Attorney, the Office of the Public Defender, the Office of Regional Conflict Council, private criminal defense attorneys and local law enforcement.

As a case progresses in the mental health court, regular psychological evaluations are ordered and hearings held to determine if the person charged has attained competency. Upon entry of an order of restoration to competency, certain cases are eligible to remain in felony mental health court for final disposition.

For further information on Felony Mental Health Court

Hon. Ari Abraham Porth, Circuit Court Judge
Mental Health dockets are held on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday in Courtroom 7810@10am

The 17th Judicial Circuit Felony Drug Court is one of the largest drug courts in the country, providing services to over 1,000 people a year. The Felony Drug Court saves taxpayers’ money, reduces crime and helps restore people’s lives. The Felony Drug Court provides a chance for someone without a felony conviction to have his or her case dismissed after completion of the program. Defendants placed on drug offender probation may also qualify to be monitored by the Felony Drug Court.

The court works closely with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Drug Court Program, Broward Addiction Recovery Center and other private providers. Participants are assessed for treatment needs and services and then offered appropriate services (such as drug treatment, mental health services, trauma-informed services, transportation and housing assistance and interview and job training). Participation in the Felony Drug Court program typically involves regular court appearances, individual and group therapy, frequent and random drug testing, and attending fellowships. Participants can be rewarded for doing well or sanctioned when they do not live up to their obligations A person completes the Felony Drug Court program when he or she has finished treatment and is a productive member of society. Anyone interested in having a case transferred to Felony Drug Court should first contact Diane St. Amand Scott, the drug court coordinator. Her contact information is listed below.

For further information on Felony Drug Court:
Diane St. Amand Scott, Drug Court Coordinator
(954) 831-6372

Hon. Judge Michele Towbin-Singer, Circuit Court Judge
Felony Drug Court dockets are held Monday-Friday in Courtroom 6840@ 9:00 am
except arraignment orientations start at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesdays

Hon. Ari Abraham Porth, Circuit Court Judge
Felony Drug Court docket is held on Monday and Tuesday in Courtroom 7810@ 8:30am