OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER 12th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT of FLORIDA LARRY L. EGER, Public Defender Serving, DeSoto, Manatee, & Sarasota Counties

Health Care Court

Health Care Court (also known as Mental Health Court)


Health Care Court, a program within the 12th Judicial Circuit’s Mental Health Court Project, is designed for those individuals who are charged with a qualifying offense in Manatee County and who suffer from a mental illness which likely led to the criminal charge. The individual must be able to meaningfully engage in outpatient treatment (including but not limited to: therapy, case management, drug testing).

  • Psychiatric services
  • One on one therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Case Management
  • Assistance Life Management
  • Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment

Court is held the third Thursday of each month immediately following Drug Court in Courtroom 2A of the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205. You may be asked to attend court more than monthly if your progress in the program is not stable. At each court appearance, the Judge will receive a progress report from the Health Care Court staff regarding the participant’s participation in the program.  The participant will be encouraged to remain compliant throughout the program, completing all requirements until you reach graduation.  Successful completion of the program will result in a graduation ceremony and a certificate of completion from the program.  If you entered the program in pursuant to a plea and/or as a condition of your probation, then you would have satisfactorily completed that portion of your requirements. Failure to complete the treatment plan or an unsuccessful discharge from the program will result in prosecution on the pending charges or violation of probation. 

Health Care Court is an individualized treatment program that is at no cost to the participants.

  • Must have an active criminal charge (misdemeanor or felony).
  • Must have a mental health diagnosis.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Must reside in Manatee County.
  • Must not have a violent criminal history.
  • Displays no evidence of drug dealing.
  • The client must have a desire to change existing behaviors and a willingness to complete a treatment program.

Clients can be referred to the Health Care Court program by Judges, Private Attorneys, Public Defenders, State Attorneys, or Pretrial Case Officers. Referrals are handled by the Health Care Court Case Manager.

Championing the accused with the utmost professionalism and humanity