Citing the perpetual problem of young state prosecutors and public defenders leaving their jobs for better pay elsewhere, Florida prosecutors are lobbying House Speaker Marco Rubio against anticipated budget cuts, says the Miami Herald. Responding to slumping state tax revenues, Gov. Charlie Crist has called for agencies, including state prosecutors and public defenders, to trim their budgets by $1 billion. Prosecutors and defenders in the Miami area fear that such a cut would fall especially hard on them.
Juan Carlos Arias of the lobbying group Friends of Florida Assistant State Attorneys Inc. said some districts can absorb budget cuts better than Miami-Dade and Broward, which have high caseloads. An average of 81 percent of prosecutors leave prosecutors’ offices in Florida within five years for jobs with private practices or other government agencies. The cost of law school education and a growing cost of living have made it difficult to compete with the private sector, or other government agencies. Lawyers fresh out of law school make under $40,000 in Miami-Dade prosecutor’s office, and $42,000 with the public defender’s office. Top private firms in Miami have starting salaries of $130,000 or more.