A Closer Look: The Office of the State Attorney Ninth Judicial Circuit
Led by The Honorable Aramis D. Ayala, the Office of the State Attorney Ninth Judicial Circuit serves Orange and Osceola counties and is committed to making Orlando and the surrounding region a vibrant, safe and healthy place to live, work and play.
The team is made up of more than 155 prosecutors who work with support staff and investigators to serve the nearly 1.4 million residents living in the Greater Orlando area and the 75 million tourists who visit Central Florida each year. As the third-largest circuit in the state, the office receives more than 100,000 cases annually from law enforcement.
While incarceration may be the end result of some prosecutions, justice also means pursuing all cases with the highest legal and ethical standards and focusing resources on addressing the root causes of crime in order to improve communities and public safety. This includes supporting alternatives to incarceration, such as rehabilitation and diversion programs, to keep people out of jail and prison when possible so they can positively contribute to their families and communities.
The State Attorney’s Office contains separate bureaus to handle specific crimes, including intake, felony, juvenile and county court. The office also has four specialty units:
The Domestic Violence Unit: prosecutes domestic violence, dating violence and child abuse cases. The unit utilizes victim advocates whose responsibilities include assisting survivors through the legal process, providing resources, accompanying the survivors to court, protecting victim’s rights and fostering trusting relationships with the survivors. Prosecutors and victim advocates receive ongoing training in domestic violence issues.
The Economic Crimes Unit: assists law enforcement and prosecutes thefts and frauds such as embezzlement cases involving substantial amounts of money. The Economic Crimes Unit lawyers handle cases of economic exploitation of the elderly/disabled, time share and other internet scams and prosecute retailers who collect sales tax from their customers but refuse to pay the collected taxes to the state. They also enforce various licensing and consumer protection laws, as well as work closely with the state Division of Insurance Fraud to combat insurance and workers compensation fraud.
The Homicide Unit: handles all crimes involving death. The unit is comprised of six highly experienced prosecutors who are responsible for cases ranging from leaving the scene of an accident that involves a death to first-degree murder where the death penalty is being sought.
The Sex Crimes Unit: handles all cases of sexual abuse committed against children and adults, as well as internet crimes against children. The Sex Crimes Unit assistant state attorneys are experts in working with child and adult victims of sexual abuse. Each assistant state attorney works with a highly trained victim advocate on every case to ensure all victims have the full support they need.
The Office of the State Attorney’s goal is to improve public safety in the communities it serves and maintain open lines of communication and transparency in order build deeper trust in our criminal justice system.
Orange County Government’s “A Closer Look” newsroom series provides residents with short, need-to-know information about the different constitutional offices that serve the County. This news story was written in partnership with Orlando County Government and the Office of the State Attorney. For more information about the Office of the State Attorney, visit www.sao9.net