Katherine Fernandez Rundle is Miami-Dade County’s and Florida’s first Cuban-American State Attorney, having been re-elected six times since 1993. She was unopposed during the 2016 election and has commenced her seventh term as the County’s top law enforcement officer.
Prior to that, she dedicated 15 years as an Assistant State Attorney. When she later served as Chief Assistant, she acted as legal counsel to the Dade County Grand Jury.
As such, she presented hundreds of murder and capital cases and oversaw the issuance of reports that initiated major reforms in such areas as juvenile justice and revision of the building code following Hurricane Andrew.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Miami and both her Master’s degree in Criminology and law degree from the University of Cambridge Law School in England.
Her passion and interest in public service is in large part due to the inspiration of her father, Dr. Carlos Benito Fernandez, Miami’s first Hispanic Judge and a founder of the Cuban American Bar Association; the largest Hispanic legal organization of which she was elected its first female president in 1993.
State Attorney Fernandez Rundle prides herself in being a career crime fighter. She has dedicated herself to every cause imaginable in her relentless commitment to keep our streets safe. She is recognized as a pioneer in the creation of numerous programs dealing with issues that affect our community daily such as teen truancy, domestic violence, child support, human trafficking, and victim’s rights.
The strong leadership and devotion of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to preventing crime and the increased focus and successful prosecution of career criminals are hallmarks of her administration.
Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Fernandez Rundle helped write and pass the Florida Punishment Code which eliminated the former sentencing guidelines formula and allowed judges to issue stronger sentences when the crime made such actions appropriate; she led the successful effort to pass the state constitutional amendment to give local governments the right to insure that gun sales at gun shows do not allow weapons to fall into the hands of criminals and juveniles.
She has been a leader in creating programs to give the victims of crime greater accessibility to the criminal court system, and was instrumental in ensuring that Miami-Dade’s celebrated Drug Court became a reality.
She also successfully created a truancy intervention program that helped Miami-Dade’s school children avoid juvenile delinquency. The Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) was the only anti-truancy program in the state which partnered prosecutors and school administrators together in the effort to prevent crime and further a child’s education.
The State Attorney has been involved in other innovative programs to help prevent crime and provide rehabilitative opportunities such as the expansion of Drug Court, the Juvenile Gun Offenders Program, and the “Second Chance” Sealing and Expungement program.
Strong on Juvenile Justice
State Attorney Fernandez Rundle was a key partner in the creation of Miami-Dade’s Juvenile Assessment Center.
This facility is intended to improve the working of our juvenile justice system by collecting sufficient information on juvenile offenders in order to develop better overall justice programming, better diversion programs, and create effective juvenile sentencing alternatives for offenders.
As a part of the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Crime Task Force, Ms. Fernandez Rundle helped create a new pilot program aimed at juveniles who have been arrested with guns in their possession. Recognizing the need to intervene with these kids before they commit a crime with a firearm, she has brought the State Attorney’s Office into a partnership with the Ryder Trauma Center of Jackson Memorial Hospital, aiming to bring the reality of living as a victim of gun violence back to those juveniles who are on the edge of potential violence.
Key Advocate for Miami Children
Ms. Fernandez Rundle has long recognized that the need to help children also entails getting them the financial support to which they are legally entitled. As the only State Attorney in Florida operating a Child Support Enforcement Office, she recognized the urgent need to make the pursuit of delinquent child support payments easier. She created legislation which added such orders to the Florida Crime Information Computer (FCIC) accessible to every Florida police officer. This made every traffic stop in Florida an opportunity to provide needy children with their court ordered support. Those who refused to support their children and ignored a court order now faced a greater potential of arrest and appearance before a judge.
Through her tireless efforts, enthusiasm and community spirit, Ms. Fernandez Rundle continues to provide encouragement and inspiration as she recruits the public to actively participate in the effort to make our neighborhoods safe.
In the Community
The State Attorney believes in sharing her time, influence, and resources with her community that she is passionate about. She is a founding member and Vice-President of Women of Tomorrow and is also very active in important community organizations such as Amigos for Kids, 5000 Role Models, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and numerous others. She has been appointed to the Statewide Human Trafficking Council, the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Council, and is a member of Prosecutors Against Gun Violence, a national group formed to address the issue of gun violence in the United States.