Broward County PBA Legal Assistance
The Broward County PBA has always prided itself in offering its members the best legal representation for law enforcement officers. Our members now have access to an expanded legal department as the Broward County PBA, Dade County PBA and Palm Beach County PBA have combined forces to create the finest legal team in the tri-county region. Our members have access to legal assistance available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week at NO extra cost. Many of the other labor organizations will provide you with a staff representative, who is not a lawyer, until you reach the stage of arbitration or charged criminally. The PBA provides you with an attorney from the beginning. To ensure these benefits are available to you, you must be a member in good standing on the date of the incident and remain a member in good standing throughout representation.
The Broward County PBA’s in-house attorneys are General Counsel Michael Braverman and Associate Counsel Julio Gonzalez.
Braverman was named General Counsel in January of 2019. In his role, Braverman will lead an expanded legal department which now incorporates PBA-affiliated attorneys from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties as well. Braverman began his career with the Dade County PBA from 1985-95, serving as a law clerk, staff attorney and General Counsel. He started his own firm in 1995, but remained a PBA-affiliated attorney, representing law enforcement officers throughout the state of Florida as a special labor counsel. Braverman received his undergraduate degree in criminology in 1984 from Florida State University, where he graduated cum laude, and his J.D. in 1987 from the Saint Thomas University School of Law in Miami. He was admitted to the Florida Bar Association in 1988.
Gonzalez joined the Broward County PBA in 2013 following several years in private practice as a criminal defense attorney and attorney representing judicial officials in ethical inquires and criminal cases. He has a BA in education from Manhattan College and received his law degree from Syracuse University. Julio began his law career as an assistant district attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York. He later served as a senior trial attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division in the Manhattan Supreme Court. Julio moved to Florida in 2000 to take a position as an assistant state attorney in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. In addition to his experience as a prosecutor, Julio has practiced as a criminal defense attorney in both state and federal courts. In 2006, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Julio to the Broward County Court. He was assigned to several divisions, including Domestic Violence. Julio is also an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University.
Before the Broward County PBA can provide any legal services you must fill out a Legal Assistance Request form.
Initial Advisement Concerning PBA Legal Assistance
Please be advised that your initial contact with the PBA Staff Attorney regarding your specific case is strictly for the purpose of evaluation of the case to determine potential conflicts, whether the incident occurred within the scope of your official duties as a law enforcement officer, and the relative merits (strength) of your case. This is only an initial evaluation of the case, but it is important for you to understand that it is a consultation for evaluation purposes and not an assignment of representation by an attorney.
However, any information provided during your initial consultation with a PBA Staff Attorney will be completely confidential under the attorney/client privilege. It is the responsibility of the PBA attorney evaluating your case, to use the information you have provided to determine how best to proceed with your case and whether your position conflicts with the position of the Association as a whole or the position of their members who have also sought the legal assistance of PBA Attorneys. In order to meet the responsibilities, you should expect that it will be necessary to discuss information relating to your case and its merits with the officers or representatives of the Association.
After gathering all pertinent information, an analysis of that information and a comparison thereof with Broward County PBA Legal Assistance Policy #95-1, a determination will be made concerning formal assignment of a Staff Attorney for representation. If no conflicts of interest are apparent in your case and your case presents sufficient merit, you will receive written notification of Staff Attorney representation. On the other hand, if there are questions of merit (pursuant to that policy) such as a relatively minor level of discipline, i.e., oral counseling or written reprimand with no widespread potential effect on the bargaining unit, involvement with drug usage or other prohibited activity under the policy or an extremely strong case against a member with defenses, pursuant to 95-1, a merit review before the Executive Board may be required to determine if assignment of a PBA Staff Attorney is warranted. Resolution of conflicts or merit review necessarily involves discussion of your case with other officers or representatives of the PBA. With regard to incidents that occur off duty, and fall outside of the PBA’s legal assistance policy, upon determination of such facts in the initial consultation, a written notice of non-assignment of PBA staff representation will be issued with a referral to the Broward County PBA Prepaid Legal Assistance Program (P.L.A.P.) which covers representation for administrative aspects of off duty incidents. Please be advised that the costs associated with the P.L.A.P. are governed by the P.L.A.P. Policy and will be explained to you by the P.L.A.P. Attorney. (Please be aware that for off duty incidents, representation on criminal aspects still remains the responsibility of the member, as the PBA does not provide representation for such matters.) With regard to PBA legal assistance, if a staff attorney is assigned as a result of initial evaluation of your case or by direction of the Executive Board after merit review, the following limitations apply to that representation.
Disciplinary Cases and Arbitration
The PBA will provide you legal representation in all cases of discipline by your agency, including suspension, demotion and dismissal. Legal representation is provided at all stages of the grievance and/or arbitration process.
Internal Affairs Statements and Supervisory Investigations
The PBA will provide an attorney to represent you whenever you are the subject of an internal affairs investigation or supervisory investigation and are ordered to answer questions whether it be a verbal statement or submission of a memorandum.
If you are the subject of a certification disciplinary case or inquiry from the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC), regarding any incident arising out of and within the scope of your law enforcement duties, the PBA will provide you legal assistance at all three stages of the process, including the probable cause hearing, the administrative case and the final hearing before the full CJSTC.
If you are involved in a duty-related contact shooting incident, an in-custody death situation or an on-duty vehicle crash or other accident which results in a serious injury to another person, the PBA will provide an attorney “on-scene” day or night to assist you with any internal or criminal investigation regarding the incident.
Civil Suits/Criminal Actions
If you are sued civilly, subject of a grand jury investigation or criminal action for an incident arising out of and within the scope of your law enforcement duties, the PBA will provide an attorney to represent you and cover the costs of defending the case against you.
We provide access to an attorney, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to respond to your emergency, duty-related legal needs.
To ensure these benefits are available to you, you must be a member in good standing on the date of the incident and remain a member in good standing throughout representation.
PBA Prepaid Legal Assistance
These services are provided to you as part of your membership by Attorney Michael Braverman.
Read more about BCPBA Prepaid Legal Assistance Plan – HERE