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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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