Duval County

407 N. Laura St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 255-HOPE (4673)
Google Map

Nassau County
Nassau County Judicial Annex
76347 Veterans Way, Ste 2065
Yulee, FL 32097
Phone: (904) 548-4750
Google Map

Clay County
Clay County Courthouse
825 N. Orange Ave
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043
Phone: (904) 284-6318

Google Map

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.

--Ronald Reagan

Follow us here:   


About Us

This office has adopted a philosophy or mission that we will:

Serve the public through efficient and responsible administration of resources, Represent clients with effective and zealous advocacy,

and engage with the constituency through outreach and educational efforts.

Matt Shirk, Public Defender
Biography of Mr. Shirk

Matt Shirk began his second term as the Fourth Judicial Circuit Public Defender in January of 2013. Since taking office in January of 2009, Matt Shirk carries many accomplishments related to his mission of providing the Fourth Judicial Circuit with an efficient administration, effective legal representation and engagement in the communities he serves. Notably, Mr. Shirk formed one of Florida’s first Veteran Treatment Courts, returned $1 million in taxpayer dollars to the State of Florida, implemented cost and time saving new technologies including paperless filing systems, and launched a Resource Recovery Program to collect nominal, mandated fees from clients. In 2010, Matt Shirk and the Public Defenders office established the Vision for Excellence summer camp, providing young people with educational resources, interaction with positive role models, and community building opportunities. Going on a fourth consecutive summer, Vision for Excellence has truly made a difference in the young people’s lives and our neighborhoods.

Matt Shirk is committed to providing quality and professional legal service to those who qualify for a public defender.  His office strictly follows Florida statutes which govern the Office of Public Defender.  He pledges to continue to uphold the Constitution and aggressively seek justice in legal proceedings.

Prior to becoming Public Defender, Shirk spent time as a sole practitioner, as an associate with a local Jacksonville law firm, as well as five years as an Assistant Public Defender under the late Lou Frost. Matt worked in the State Attorney’s office as a law student.

Matt Shirk earned his J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law in 1999.  As a law student, he received various awards and accolades for his academic accomplishments as well as his extra-curricular involvement. Matt holds two Bachelor’s Degrees from Western Illinois University; Law Enforcement Administration and Political Science.

Today, Shirk resides in Jacksonville with his wife Michelle and their son Pierce.  He is on the Board of Directors for the Clara White Mission and the Northeast Florida Safety Council, serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Salvation Army and is a member of the Southside Business Men's Club and First Baptist Church downtown.

Public Defender's Office Staff

Hon. Matt Shirk, Public Defender of the 4th Judicial Circuit
(904) 255-4600

Refik Eler, Chief Assistant Public Defender

Fred Gazaleh, Director Felony Court Unit

Cynthia Hunold, Director of Clay County Court Unit

Rob Mason, Director Juvenile Court Unit

Kate Bedell, Director of Duval County Court Unit

Chris Clayton, Director Nassau County Office

Paulene Showalter, Administrative Assistant to Mr. Shirk
(904) 255-4607

Angela Judah, Administrative Assistant to Mr. Eler 
(904) 255-4608


Administration/Human Resources 
(904) 255-4603

Public Information/Media Relations 
(904) 255-4604

Follow us and get up-to-the-moment info. Check out what your friends and neighbors are saying about us.