Matt Shirk | News4JaxMatt Shirk | News4Jax
Matt Shirk | News4Jax

Former Public Defender Matt Shirk accused of contempt

Published on October 19, 2023 at 12:47 pm

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered former Jacksonville-area Public Defender Matt Shirk to show why he should not be held in contempt of court after The Florida Bar alleged that he practiced law after being suspended last year.

The Supreme Court in August 2022 suspended Shirk from practicing law for one year, with the suspension taking effect Sept. 27, 2022. But in a petition filed Wednesday at the Supreme Court, the Bar alleged that Shirk made filings in federal immigration cases after his suspension.

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“The Bar respectfully requests this (Supreme) Court enter an order directing Matt Shirk to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of this court’s order and disbarred effective immediately due to his existing one-year suspension,” the Bar petition said.

Shirk was elected public defender in 2008 and reelected in 2012 in the 4th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Duval, Nassau and Clay counties.

Shirk came under investigation, including by a grand jury, for alleged misconduct. Among the allegations were that he improperly hired women to work in the public defender’s office and then directed that they be fired “for the private benefit of himself and to save his marriage,” according to a referee’s report last year that recommended his suspension.

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Shirk also was alleged to have had alcoholic beverages in a Jacksonville city building and improperly revealed information about a former juvenile client.

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