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)


The Sarasota County Health Care Court was established in 2012 as part of the 12th Judicial Circuit. Health Care Court is a specialized court docket for certain defendants with mental illnesses that utilize a problem-solving model for traditional criminal court processing. Participants are identified through mental health screenings and assessments. A judicially supervised treatment plan is developed jointly by a team of court staff and mental health professionals.

  • Individual Therapy Sessions
  • Group Therapy Sessions
  • Psychiatric Evaluation by a Licensed Professional
  • Psychotropic Medication
  • Life Skills Coaching
  • Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment
  • Case Management

The progress of each participant will be reported to the Health Care Court team through weekly staffing meetings that are held prior to the court proceeding. A detailed status report is prepared for the Judge and the team members review it as a part of the staffing process. A review of the treatment and overall program status is also discussed, along with any program violations and recommendations. The Judge will finalize all rewards and sanctioning.

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 Sarasota 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