State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist
Governor

Robert A. Butterworth
Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Brenda Brody
July 26, 2007 850-488-4855

Secretary Butterworth Honored by Florida's Public Defenders

~Association recognizes Secretary's dedication to resolving Florida's mental health treatment crisis~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - The Florida Public Defender Association today presented its highest honor, the L. Clayton Nance Award, to Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth. Butterworth received the award at the association's annual conference in Ponte Vedra Beach in recognition of his leadership during the state's forensic mental health treatment crisis.

"I'm honored to receive this award, especially since it bears the name of a legendary member of Florida's legal community," said Secretary Bob Butterworth. "But I can't accept this award without acknowledging that a number of public defenders played a pivotal role in resolving the crisis."

Butterworth led a stunning turnaround of the state's ability to provide mental health treatment to accused felons deemed incompetent to stand trial. When he was appointed Secretary in January of this year, there were 295 people waiting in jails for available treatment beds with 251 waiting more than 15 days. Under Butterworth's leadership, it took the Department only four months to reduce the "over 15 day" waiting list to zero.

The L. Clayton Nance Award was established in 1977 to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the improvement of the state's criminal justice system. L. Clayton Nance served as Public Defender, and served from 1954 until he was appointed to the Broward County Circuit Court bench in 1966, where he held office until his death in 1979.

Previous recipients include U. S. Representative Kendrick Meek, four Chief Justices of the Florida Supreme Court (Gerald Kogan, Raymond Ehrlich, James C. Atkins, B.K. Roberts and Richard M. Ervin); and two Florida Governors (C. Farris Bryant and LeRoy Collins).


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