CAREY HAUGHWOUT - Public Defender

Carey Haughwout - Public Defender

I am honored to have served as your Public Defender since 2001. My mission has ensured that our office provides high quality representation to poor people who are charged with crimes. Effective and efficient work by my office supports our pursuit of equal justice. Our community can be proud of our Public Defender's Office! As I continue to serve our community, I commit to provide leadership and innovation while collaborating with other leaders for system wide solutions. - Carey Haughwout


Inside and outside the courtroom, I advocate on behalf of poor people, lead by example and mentor lawyers through specialized training. The result: a nationally recognized law office that draws lawyers from across the country and has gained a reputation for excellent service.


We must always look for ways to innovate in advocating for our clients. In response to recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings prohibiting the death penalty and life sentences for juveniles, we shifted resources to resentencing investigations and hearings for clients who were impacted. This resulted in the successful reduction of many sentences and, for some, immediate release. We then shifted our focus to supporting our clients transition back into our community. Additionally, we recently established a dedicated unit with lawyers specializing in forensic sciences to more closely look at these issues in criminal cases.


Seeking to improve public safety, I work with other court system and policy leaders to enhance effectiveness in our justice system and to improve the quality of life for poor people in our community.


Carey Haughwout took office in January of 2001. She graduated with High Honors from Florida State University College of Law in 1983. In 1979, she earned a degree in economics and sociology from New College in Sarasota. She began her career as an associate with a Tallahassee trial firm. From 1985 to 1990, she was an assistant public defender in Tallahassee and Palm Beach County, working her way from misdemeanor to capital cases. She practiced as a private criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee and Palm Beach County for 17 years.

As a leader for poor people in our justice system, Carey has worked with many organizations throughout Florida. She has been a member of the Palm Beach County, state and national Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Criminal Justice Commission, Legal Aid Society and the Florida Association of Women Lawyers.

She has been recognized by her peers many times including receiving the Palm Beach County Bar Association's Professionalism Award, Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's Champion of Justice Award and the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Law Service and Homeless Advocacy awards. Her legal expertise was recognized with the Governor Lawton Chiles' appointment to the Domestic Violence Clemency Panel from 1995-1998, and the Supreme Court of Florida 1997 Appointment to the Special Advisory Committee on Minimum Standards of Competency for Counsel in Capital Cases.