Chair’s Message

Joel Silvershein

Welcome to the website for the Criminal Law Section (CLS) of The Florida Bar. I am very excited to serve as Chair of the section for 2016-17.

The CLS, currently comprised of over 2,500 judges, prosecutors, public and private criminal defense lawyers, criminal law professors and judges, is governed by the elected members of the Executive Council. The CLS is the only section of The Florida Bar devoted solely to the improvement of the criminal justice system and the betterment of the lawyers and judges who are an integral part of the criminal justice system. I encourage you to learn more about the CLS, come to our meetings, and get involved. More specifically, I ask that you visit the Section Committee page for a list of the standing committees and decide how you will become an active member of the CLS. You do not need to be a member of the Executive Council to serve on a standing committee, but you do need to be a member of the CLS

The Council is well balanced both geographically and by areas of practice. In fact, the leadership of the council also come from various backgrounds and come from different parts of the State. I have served as a prosecutor in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale since 1986, and been a member of the CLS Executive Council since 2008. Other officers of the Executive Council are: Judge Angélica Zayas, Immediate Past Chair, a Circuit Court Judge in the Juvenile Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami, who is a former assistant attorney general and assistant state attorney; Marty McDonnell, chair-elect, a former public defender, state and federal prosecutor, and assistant general counsel to Governor Bush, who is currently in private practice in Tallahassee focusing on criminal defense; O. David Barksdale, Secretary, a former homicide prosecutor currently in private practice in Jacksonville, focusing on criminal defense; and Jennifer Zedalis, Treasurer, who is the Director of Trial Practice at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Co-Chair of the Gerald T. Bennett Public Defender/Prosecutor Trial Program, and a former assistant public defender and private practitioner.

As a member of the CLS, you can take advantage of, objective and informative federal and state case law updates, networking opportunities with members of the CLS and other sections, and discounts on CLE presentations by the CLS. In the coming year, we will be working on a monthly series of lunchtime webinars, and increasing our outreach to the members of the section. More importantly, your membership and involvement makes you a critical part in improving the quality of justice for those affected by our criminal justice system.

Please contact me and tell me how you can help the CLS achieve its goals and which committee you would like to join. Be sure to renew your Section dues and get involved. Don’t forget to also encourage your friends and colleagues to join the section and get involved.

Yours truly,
Joel M. Silvershein

(954) 831-7913