The Florida Supreme Court has ordered the temporary postponement of all non-essential court proceedings. The Courthouses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, including the Offices of the Public Defender, are completely closed to the public. All courtrooms in the Bartow Courthouse are closed to the public. The Office of the Public Defender in the Bartow Courthouse is closed to all members of the public, including clients unless special arrangements have been made in advance.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Even though our offices are closed, we continue to work on your case. Do not be concerned if you have a court date scheduled prior to April 20th. Your hearing has been postponed and you will receive notice of your next court date from the Clerk of Court. Please use the Helpful Links tab located on this page and click on the Polk County Clerk of Court to review the latest updates on court procedures during the coronavirus health emergency. You can also use the Search Polk Records Online link located under Court Services on the Clerk’s website to look up specific information related to your case. Please do not call the Office of the Public Defender unless there is an emergency. In order to protect the health of our staff so that they can continue to serve you, we are working remotely and you can expect difficulty and delays in reaching our office. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Be safe.
Rex Dimmig
Public Defender


Welcome to the web site for the Office of the Public Defender for the 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida. We have been proudly serving the people of Polk, Hardee and Highlands Counties in central Florida since 1963.

In the following pages we will attempt to provide you with some insight into the vital role of public defenders in our uniquely American system of criminal justice as well as a brief history of our office. We have also included some helpful tips and links to other informative sites should you ever find yourself or someone close to you involved in our legal system. We hope you find this information both informative and helpful.

Howard ‘Rex’ Dimmig  Public Defender  10th Judicial Circuit of Florida

Howard ‘Rex’ Dimmig
 Public Defender
 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida