Miami SAO
2021 | Volume 1
A Message from the State Attorney

Dear Friend,
January provided us with an opportunity to build upon all the challenges we faced and overcame in 2020. I am pleased to say that we accomplished a great deal in only the first month of 2021. Despite everything, we have successfully adapted to the “new normal” and continue to provide Miami-style Smart Justice in the same professional, fair, and dedicated manner that we always have for our community.

Our virtual doors have remained open throughout the pandemic as we have maximized the use of technology to strengthen our bonds with our community, stakeholders, law enforcement partners and government agencies to effectuate the real and necessary changes that our community needs and deserves.

And though the COVID-19 pandemic caused us to defer the start of our fall 2020 ASA New Class until January, it didn’t dampen or dull the resolve of our new prosecutors. In fact, they seem more motivated and focused than ever. 

These 42 young lawyers join our team during a truly unique time. Their experience of being a new prosecutor will be vastly different than their predecessors, but just as impactful.

They are taking part in our New ASA Training Program that we have transformed into a completely online format. It is reassuring to see how extremely engaged they are in the sessions and with each other. They are energetic and eager to learn, unafraid to ask question or to help each other out along the way.

Even though the virtual training has them sitting in front of a computer in separate locations, they have truly come together as a team. I am proud to say they are off and running.  

Personally, I miss being able to walk over to the training room and speak with them in person, as I usually do with all new classes. There is nothing like witnessing these new attorneys take their first steps as prosecutors. You see their enthusiasm and their passion for ensuring justice is available to all. It is truly inspiring.

Our new ASAs were sworn in a virtual ceremony by various Judges of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, some of them former prosecutors, with their family members also joining this most memorable event.

Please join me in welcoming these new members to the SAO family, the Best Team in America!

Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Couple Arrested on Charged with Human Trafficking
of a 16 year old
"Throughout January, which is Human Trafficking month, I and all of our local police partners have been working to educate the public about the important role every person can have in fighting the scourge of human trafficking," said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle at a press conference regarding the arrests of 27 year old Roberto Vicente Cuesta and 23 year old Julietta Maria Vado on Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation charges for exploiting a 16 year old girl.
State Attorney Meets with
Lt. Gov. Nuñez to
Protect Children
"I am deeply appreciative of Lt. Gov Nuñez for her strong concern and support of various important initiatives as we work together to eradicate this form of modern-day slavery in our great State of Florida," commented State Attorney Fernandez Rundle. “The only way we can make a significant impact in our law enforcement efforts is to have the necessary laws in place that allow us to ensure traffickers face the consequences of their criminal actions.” 
Meeting with SAO Human Trafficking Policy Institute

Presentation to Hadassah of Greater Miami

Keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Virtually Summit 
State Attorney Fernandez Rundle Continues Advocacy and Education
January is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month but at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, the fight to end this scourge of modern-day slavery is a 365 day-a-year and 24 hour a day priority.

State Attorney Fernandez Rundle is a committed and proven leader in the fight against Human Trafficking who has pioneered an innovative trauma-informed law enforcement model for the investigation and prosecution of these cases.
Continuing Justice Reform Commission

State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle continues to be at the forefront of criminal justice reform in Florida. In December 2020, she created the Criminal Justice Reform Commission to address urgent and important issues facing our Miami-Dade County community.

 “The purpose of this commission is to identify ways to make our justice system more fair, equal, and just,” said State Attorney Fernandez Rundle. “We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot more work to be done.  Our community has been able to overcome many difficult situations and crises by coming together and finding solutions that work for our diverse and complex community. We will do so again.”

The Commission is comprised of a broad cross-section of our community, including elected officials, government employees, faith leaders, law enforcement, advocacy groups, and community organizations.

Since its inception, the Commission has moved with the urgency justice reform demands. The Commissioners held a foundational meeting on December 14, 2020 to develop a plan to address the various challenges our community faces.

A month later, on January 14, 2021, the Commission met again to hear from more than two dozen speakers representing community stakeholders, the faith community, and law enforcement.  The speakers shared their diverse experiences, perspectives, and proposed solutions. Because of the passion and engagement of all the participants, the meeting lasted much longer than scheduled. On January 27th, the Commission met again to finalize a preliminary list of recommendations to bring before the Legislature which convenes in March 2021.

Over the next several months, members of the Commission will work to promote the groups’ shared goals and encourage true and lasting change in our criminal justice system. Together, we really can and will make a difference.  

Implicit Bias Training

“It is important that we continue our
conversation about Implicit Bias to ensure that the processes and outcomes of the criminal justice system are fair. I expect my prosecutors to consider the role that the officers', witnesses', and their own implicit bias may have on defendants.”

- State Attorney
Katherine Fernandez Rundle
5000 Role Models of Excellence
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Every year I look forward to participating and speaking at the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Breakfast in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “There is no better way to begin the celebrations on the holiday dedicated to a true American hero and his legacy of peace and equality.”

Traditionally, the breakfast is a huge event with hundreds in attendance including guest speakers, honorees, elected officials, community members, mentors, and the young men who are members of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

This year, the event was held virtually and the theme was “History Makers.” Honorees included the Vice-President of the United States Kamala Harris, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Attorney Benjamin Crump, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Florida Lottery Secretary John H. Davis.

This wonderful program was created in 1993 by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson when she served as a Miami-Dade County School Board member. The mission of the project is to intervene in the lives of at-risk boys, in order to provide them with alternatives to lead them away from a life of crime and violence.

SAO Implements Paperless System
SAO Alumni Profile
Jose Arrojo, Executive Director
Miami-Dade Commission on
Ethics and Public Trust
We begin the year by featuring a former Chief Assistant State Attorney who left an indelible mark on our office through his close work with the State Attorney on policy and legal issues. He was a trusted advisor to her while mentoring younger ASAs and being a sounding board for more experienced prosecutors. His professionalism and dedication to the law is only surpassed by his fairness and humanity.