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Commission on Mental Health

Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren


Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren was elected to the 17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida in 1996 and was assigned to the Broward County Criminal bench in January 1997. Her regular criminal court responsibilities include the administration of a full, regular criminal misdemeanor division, including presiding over all dockets, pretrial motions, probationary matters and jury trials.

In June 1997, she was appointed by Chief Judge Dale Ross to administrate and preside over the Nation's first Mental Health Court. This innovative, specialized Court was established to address the complexities of mentally ill offenders arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors and to improve the administration of justice for those with serious mental and psychiatric disorders. The Mental Health Court is dedicated to the safe diversion, decriminalization and treatment of mentally ill persons in the community. The Mental Health Court has been featured on Good Morning America, National Public Radio, CNN and in countless news media throughout the country. Judge Lerner-Wren and the Mental Health Court have received numerous honors and recognition related to the innovation of the Court, the application of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, and for the humanitarian treatment of persons with severe mental illness. Hailed as a "Best Practice," the Mental Health Court, with the application of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, became the model for recent Federal legislation passed by Congress in 2000 in the comprehensive Mental Health Act to promote Mental Health Courts nationwide.

In 1993, Judge Lerner-Wren was appointed by Chief Circuit Judge Dale Ross to serve as the Public Guardian of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. As Public Guardian, she was responsible for directing and administrating all operations of the Office of Public Guardian. She was legally responsible for the health, safety and welfare of disabled adult clients, all of whom were legally incapacitated and in need of a legal guardian and case management support in the community. She was responsible for the oversight of treatment plans and worked collaboratively with community-based senior, mental health and related social service agencies and a wide array of long-term care facilities. Judge Lerner-Wren earned a J.D. from Nova Southeastern University School of Law in 1983, and a B.A. from the University of Miami in 1980.


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This page was last updated on July 17, 2002