Florida Supreme Court rejects ex-public defender’s guilty plea to ethics violations
MAR 18, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 19, 2021
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville public defender Matt Shirk’s conditional guilty plea filed last month with the Florida Supreme Court was rejected.
Shirk had agreed to plead guilty to violating several rules of the Florida Bar — including the Rules of Professional Conduct, violation of the oath taken by a lawyer to support the constitutions of the US and Florida, providing competent representation to a client and others — in exchange for a six-month suspension from practicing law.
The suspension would have taken effect 30 days from the date of the final order, but the Supreme Court said it considered the conditional plea for consent judgment and rejected it.
“The Florida Bar is hereby directed to prepare and file a formal complaint against Matt Shirk,” the Court wrote.
The issues stem from Shirk’s time as a public defender in Jacksonville from 2009-2017.
A grand jury investigation into his actions in office eventually got sent to the Florida Commission on Ethics, which led to public censure, reprimand and a $6,000 civil penalty.