9th Circuit State Attorney’s office rolls out new drug diversion program and other announcements

Central Florida criminal defense lawyers, the Ninth Circuit State Attorney’s Office has just released the details of a new drug diversion program.  The official release from the Office of the State Attorney is below, and the program becomes active in August.  This appears to provide new options to many of our clients facing misdemeanor and/or third degree felony drug charges.  Please review the new program policy (Follow Link Here Drug Diversion Policy FINAL), and feel free to contact CFACDL with any specific thoughts or concerns about the program. 



Please see the following two policies adopted by SAO9:

  • Cannabis Prosecutions: Their office will no longer prosecute misdemeanor cannabis crimes committed after July 1, 2019, due to FDLE’s inability to distinguish cannabis from hemp. Prosecutions would resume once such a test is created and validated by FDLE. She indicated they would instead prosecute the related paraphernalia charges. She was unclear as to what their policy for felony cases would be, but from my discussion, it appeared that unless there was substantial additional circumstantial evidence, such as weight, admissions, etc., they would also discontinue commonplace felony cannabis prosecutions.


  • Brady Policy: Their office has formed a Brady Committee that will compile a Brady Alert List and a Brady Exclusion List. At the onset, the list will be compiled internally based on prosecutors’ recommendations and findings. She indicated that eventually defenses attorneys could submit recommendations to the committee.
    • Placement on the alert list means prosecutors should proceed with caution when using an officer and should only prosecute the case if they believe the officer’s involvement will not affect the integrity of the case.
    • Placement on the exclusion list means the officer should not be used at all.

Special thanks to criminal defense attorney and lifetime CFACDL member Richard Hornsby, for taking the lead and acting as CFACDL’s liaison in connection with SAO9’s new drug diversion program and conviction integrity unit.



Benjamin D. Wurtzel

Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

2019-2020 CFACDL President


IMPORTANT INFORMATION – Criminal Division Transition


The Criminal Division has teams moving and are undergoing renovations.


The Criminal Customer Service team located in room 250 has begun to transition to the Traffic Division. This transition will be complete by July 8th and the primary 250 entrance door will be closed.


Please begin directing customers that are needing to make Criminal Payments, Criminal Hearing Information and Collections to room 410, Traffic Division. This does include attorney’s unless they are looking for copies which then they would need to be directed to the Records Management Division on the 1st floor.


The Collections Team has moved to their new home in Traffic effective today. For those that interact with this team, we ask for patience as everyone makes the appropriate adjustments.


In addition the Criminal Division is preparing for room 210 phase 1 renovations to begin. This will require the Appeal and Sealing & Expungement team to be temporarily relocated to room 250 effective Monday, July 1st . The Appeal customers and Law Enforcement/Court Personnel will be able to access room 250 via the exit door once the entrance door is closed on the 8th . There will be signage posted in all of these areas.


We will have a few more changes coming. Once we know the specifics we will share this information.


Thank you for your assistance in conveying this important information to our customers and teams. We are excited about all of these changes and look forward to the final outcome of the Criminal division being located all on one side.


Please let us know if there are any questions.


Wendy Melgar, CPM

Operations Manager, Criminal

Office of Tiffany Moore Russell

Orange County Clerk of Courts

425 North Orange Ave, Suite 250

Orlando, Florida 32801

Phone: 407-836-2220