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re - elect Katherine Fernandez Rundle Miami - Dade State Attorney

ABOUT KATHY

Katherine Fernandez Rundle

Katherine Fernandez Rundle is Miami-Dade County’s and Florida’s first Cuban-American State Attorney, having been re-elected six times since 1993. She was unopposed during the 2016 election and is in her seventh term as the County’s top law enforcement officer.

Prior to becoming State Attorney, she served 15 years as an Assistant State Attorney, rising to Chief Assistant State Attorney.  As Chief Assistant, she acted as legal counsel to the Dade County Grand Jury.  In that position, she presented hundreds of murder and capital cases and oversaw the issuance of reports that initiated major reforms in such areas as juvenile justice and revision of the building code following Hurricane Andrew.

She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Miami and both her Master’s Degree in Criminology and law degree from the University of Cambridge Law School in England.

Her passion and interest in public service is in large part due to the inspiration of her father, Dr. Carlos Benito Fernandez, Miami’s first Hispanic Judge and a founder of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA).  CABA is the largest minority bar association in Florida.  In 1993, she was elected its first female President.

A Career of Firsts

  • As Chief Assistant State Attorney, she conceived of and helped create the nation's first "Drug Court," starting a national movement
  • Serves as Florida's first Cuban-American State Attorney
  • Created Florida's first Domestic Violence Unit
  • Supported the development of Miami-Dade's Mental Health Programming, which now is recognized as a national model
  • Supported Miami-Dade's Veteran’s Treatment Court
  • Helped Create the Civil Citation Program for juveniles
  • Supported the creation and expansion of the Civil Citation Program for adults

Community Outreach

  • Presentations to school children about making good choices, through the START (Stop, Think, Ask, React, Tell) Program
  • Bullying prevention presentations
  • Child ID Fingerprinting Program that helps families provide law enforcement with a valuable tool if their children go missing
  • Protect-Your-Vote presentations to educate people abou tthe many factors that could jeopardize their right to vote
  • Identity Theft/Scam Prevention presentations
  • Human Trafficking presentations
  • Youth Dating Violence Discussions
  • "Second Chance" Program to facilitate the Sealing and Expunging of records
  • Juvenile Gun Offenders Program
  • Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Anti-Gun Violence Unit
  • Voting Rights Restoration Initiative

Making a Difference

  • Florida Women’s Hall of Fame
  • Florida Bar G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award
  • Cuban American Bar Association, Presidential Award
  • Chapman Partnership, Trish Bell Lifetime Achievement Award, "for her outstanding philanthropic commitment and compassion to our community"
  • Florida Association of Women Lawyers, Miami-Dade Chapter, Women Making History Award, "in recognition of her character, courage, commitment and passion as a true pioneer of human rights for women and all members of our community"
  • Anti-Defamation League, "Distinguished Public Service" Award 
  • Voices for Children Foundation, "Most Valuable Protector (MVP)" Leadership Award
  • Florida’s Children First, "Child Advocate of the Year Award"
  • Lawyers for Children America, John and Sara Smith Community Leadership Award, "In recognition of your dedicated service to helping children and your extraordinary leadership in serving the Miami community"
  • Enterprising Women, Enterprising Women Advocacy Award, for her "work promoting policies, practices and leadership to protect and support women and children"
  • Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, 2012 Prosecutor of the Year - Human Trafficking Award, "in recognition of her deep commitment to combating human trafficking in Florida"
  • Global Innovative Consulting Network, LLC, Lifetime Achievement – Justice Award, "For Your Outstanding Leadership, Service, Commitment and life-changing efforts to empowering Survivors of Human Trafficking and advocating for social justice to end this global problem"
  • National Association of Social Workers, Miami-Dade Unit, Elected Official of the Year Award
  • Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Appreciation Award for her work with the "Second Chance – One Stop" Sealing and Expunging Program
Social Media

Katherine Fernandez Rundle is a State Attorney for the entire community!

Innovative and Successful Approach to Prosecutions - Miami-Style Smart Justice

Historically, prosecutors and judges relied almost exclusively on punitive measures, most notably jail or prison sentences, to address and deter criminal activity. However, the traditional punitive approach to justice is unduly expensive, does not work as well as it should, and has unnecessary and devastating consequences for lower level offenders and their families. Thus, State Attorney Fernandez Rundle does things differently. Under her leadership, prosecutors distinguish between offenders who can be rehabilitated from those who present a real, present, and future danger to our society. We strive to rehabilitate those we can help, while incapacitating those who would do our community real harm despite our best efforts to assist them.

In 1989, State Attorney Fernandez Rundle conceived of and help implement the nation’s first Drug Court.  Since that time, much has changed, though her approach to justice has not. While more and more district attorneys have begun to experiment with what some call “progressive” solutions, strategic remedial measures that reduce crime, improve lives, and save money are a matter of tradition in Miami-Dade County.  Her office addresses offenders as individuals and employs an evidence-based outcome-oriented approach that maximizes public safety, makes judicious use of jail space, minimizes unintended collateral consequences, and reduces costs. We call her approach “Miami-Style Smart Justice.”  Miami-Style Smart Justice is an evidence-based, outcome-oriented, medical-legal approach that addresses crime, punishment and rehabilitation in a wholistic manner.  

State Attorney Fernandez Rundle’s Smart Justice approach and the programs she supports have been extraordinarily successful.  In fact, they helped reduce he crime rate almost 70% during her tenure, while saving millions in costs of incarceration.   Learn more about State Attorney Fernandez Rundle’s strategies and successes by downloading an article she co-authored at http://www.miamisao.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Miami-Style-Smart-Justice-NDAA-April-2020KFR-and-Talpins-1-1.pdf.