Dave Aronberg

State Attorney

West Palm Beach, FL

Elected State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida, in November 2012, Dave Aronberg leads an office of 120 prosecutors with more than 120,000 cases each year. As State Attorney, Dave has overseen a dramatic improvement in conviction rates; a reduction in the "direct filing" of juveniles into adult court; an expansion of drug court and veterans court, which emphasize rehabilitation over incarceration; and the creation of innovative diversion programs for first-time domestic violence and DUI offenders that have reduced recidivism rates and saved taxpayer dollars.

Before his current office, Dave served as a Florida State Senator (2002-10) and a White House Fellow (2000-01) in the U.S. Treasury Department.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Too many veterans return home with health, substance abuse and/or psychosocial problems, making it difficult to re-enter the civilian population. A lack of jobs, along with family and housing issues, also takes its toll. When these veterans run afoul of the criminal justice system, it’s important for their unique circumstances to be understood and addressed.

Solution

Palm Beach County created a Veterans Court, partnering with federal, state and local agencies, to solve the participants’ underlying health, substance abuse and psychological problems. Honorably discharged veterans who commit certain misdemeanor and felony crimes are eligible upon the consent of the victims. Veterans Court is a non-adversarial atmosphere where a judge, prosecutor and public defender – all veterans themselves – work together to break the cycle of substance abuse and criminal behavior, and address mental and physical health issues. Perhaps most importantly, each veteran in the program is assigned a mentor -- a fellow veteran usually from the same branch of service -- to be there every step of the way. Working together, nearly all veterans successfully complete the program and return to a law-abiding life. Meanwhile, costs of pretrial incarceration have been reduced by 73%.