The Sarasota County Bar Association announces the release of a new video entitled, “The Florida Criminal Justice System” or “El Sistema Juridico Criminal en la Florida.” The video gives a brief description of law enforcement, arrest, the first court appearance, attorneys, case investigation and jury trials. It is intended to educate English and Spanish speaking persons about what to expect if a loved one is arrested.
The video had its genesis in the television program “Law and Sarasota,” jointly produced by the Education Channel and the Sarasota County Bar Association. This half hour program focuses on area judges and attorneys, and was intended to educate the local population about the workings of the legal system. In 2006, the program won the public service award from the National Association of Bar Executives.
Host of the program, Adam Tebrugge, and Executive Director of the Bar Association, Jan Jung, then pursued a grant from the Florida Bar Foundation to present a Spanish version of the program. This was prompted, in part, by the growth of the local Hispanic population. In 2005, court interpreters assisted over 7,300 Hispanic clients in the Sarasota legal system. Recognizing the need, the Florida Bar Foundation awarded a $4,000 grant for the proposed program.
Tebrugge worked with Spanish speaking attorney Varinia Van Ness, and producer Bob Gray, to develop the new video. “I want to make sure that everyone who comes to Court on a criminal matter understands what is going on” said Tebrugge. “Varinia was a great assistance to the project,” Tebrugge added. “She provides services to many Hispanic clients and knew what information we needed to convey.” Attorney Van Ness is also hosting the Spanish language version of the program at her web-site, http://www.vannesslawfirm.com/FloridaBar.html.
The DVD of the program will be available for free distribution to schools, libraries and local employers, by contacting the Sarasota County Bar Association at 941-366-6703. The Sarasota County Bar Association is proud to sponsor this video, which is in line with its goals of advancing professionalism, encouraging public service, and providing legal resources and services to all in the community.