Exploring Juvenile “Law” – Rob Mason, J.D.

This presentation will challenge and confront juvenile defenders as to their current understanding and utilization of juvenile “law” and the manner in which they conduct legal research. Rob Mason is Board Certified in Juvenile Law and graduated from the University…

This presentation will challenge and confront juvenile defenders as to their current understanding and utilization of juvenile “law” and the manner in which they conduct legal research.

Rob Mason is Board Certified in Juvenile Law and graduated from the University of Florida College Of Law where he served as an Associate Research Editor for the Law Review. He has been an Assistant Public Defender in Jacksonville, Florida since 1990 and is the Director of the Juvenile Division and has participated on the Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) team for the office since its inception in 2010. He has chaired the Florida Public Defender Association Juvenile Justice Steering Committee and vice-chaired the inaugural Florida Bar Juvenile Law Board Certification Committee. He served on the Executive Committee for the Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section for eight years and is a member of the Florida Bar, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Rob Mason has also been an adjunct professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville and Jones College, teaching Evidence and Criminal Law.
Rob Mason is a member of the Advisory Board for the Southern Juvenile Defender Center and a past Chair of the Florida Bar Committee for the Legal Needs of Children. He helped draft the Florida Guidelines of Practice for Lawyers Who Represent Children in Delinquency Proceedings. He served twelve years on the Florida Juvenile Court Rules Committee and chaired the committee in 2007-08 and 2015-16. As Chair, he helped implement a court rule mandating that juveniles have a right to confer with counsel before making a decision whether to waive counsel. Additionally, he helped pass a rule opposing indiscriminate shackling of juveniles for court appearances. He drafted the court filings and response to comments for the rule, presented the rule to the Florida Bar Board of Governors for approval, and successfully argued it in front of the Florida Supreme Court. He has also appeared before that court successfully advocating for a court rule that children be warned of possible immigration consequences before the court accepts a plea.

Rob Mason has authored the chapter “Disposition in Delinquency Cases” in the Florida Bar Publication Florida Juvenile Law and Practice. He has testified on juvenile issues before committees of the Florida Senate and Florida House and has participated as a panelist for Congressional Staff briefings on juvenile indigent defense. He has lectured nationally on Juvenile Dispositional Advocacy, Child Hearsay, Strategies for Sex Offenses, Effective Juvenile Representation, Collateral Consequences, Contempt, and Right to Counsel. He has participated as an American Bar Association Panelist on Child Victims and has served as faculty at the National Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit multiple times. He served as an active member of the Advisory Committee for the Juvenile Justice Center at Barry University for the six years of their existence, and also participated as a member of the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network, an initiative dedicated to improve the juvenile indigent defense system nationwide. The MacArthur Foundation has honored him as a 2010 Models for Change “Champion for Change.”

Rob Mason serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for Children’s Rights and the Jacksonville System of Care Initiative, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center and the Jacksonville Youth Academy. He is a member of the Florida Youth Justice Commission and co-chairs the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (4th Judicial Circuit). He has co-authored more than twenty emergency writs of habeas corpus or certiorari, and has also been the lead trial attorney for a number of delinquency appellate reversals, including the case of J.R. v. State, a case of first impression in Florida allowing a parent to remain in the courtroom during trial when they are a defense witness even after the rule of sequestration has been invoked. He can be reached at rmason@pd4.coj.net.

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