Kristie Cohen graduated from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI in 2006 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Legal Studies. While attending Eastern Michigan, Ms. Cohen was engaged in a double bachelor’s program for Legal Studies and Psychology, with minors in chemistry and biology. Also, while attending Eastern Michigan, Ms. Cohen worked for the school’s legal clinic and also participated in an internship at the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office.
After graduation, Mr. Cohen attended Barry University School of Law in Orlando Florida. Ms. Cohen focused her studies on Constitutional and Criminal law. While attending law school she clerked for the Honorable Dennis Powers in the 52nd District Court in Michigan, where she coordinated the Judge’s docket, wrote judicial opinions and helped the Judge write a Michigan Bar Review Article. Ms. Cohen graduated with her Juris Doctor in May 2008.
After graduating from law school, Ms. Cohen pursued her chosen path as a criminal defense attorney working for the Public Defender of the 19th Circuit in Indian River County. Her time at the Public Defender’s Office started by defending juvenile and misdemeanor cases. After a few months, Ms. Cohen was promoted and took over the defense of all County Court cases for the office and both Divisions for Indian River County. In just under a year Ms. Cohen was again promoted to a felony division, handling all felony cases and clients with all criminal designations. Ms. Cohen also began working on and learning major crimes cases such as murder and capital sexual battery. Ms. Cohen sat as 2nd chair on her first murder trial in 2010 and was in charge of the medical testimony and the bulk of the defense. Also, since she had a background and education in psychology, she was given a majority of the cases that had mental heath issues, NGI (not guilty by insanity) defenses or competency issues. Ms. Cohen became very well versed with how criminal law and mental health intersect and the ways to protect clients who have mental health issues. Ms. Cohen worked for the Public Defender of the 19th Circuit until 2011 and tried over 60 jury trials in her time there.
After leaving the 19th Circuit she accepted a position with the Broward County Public Defender’s Office and worked there until July 2017, when she accepted an offer with Meltzer and Bell, PA. During her time at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office she worked in several felony divisions and on several major crimes cases.
She was the lead Public Defender in several different divisions over her years at the office and focused mainly on first degree and life felony cases. Ms. Cohen mainly handled major crimes cases such as First-Degree Murder, Arson, Trafficking, Robbery Firearm, Carjacking and Sexual Battery. Her clients ranged from first time offenders to multi-convicted offenders, and she has extensive knowledge of every enhancement and designation, such as PRR (Prison Release Reoffender), HO (Habitual Offender), and HVO (Habitual Violent Offender). Ms. Cohen is also 2nd-chair-qualified to work on death penalty cases.
Some notable cases:
Ms. Cohen represented Sudi Stinson who was charged with Trafficking in Hydrocodone and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. She filed a motion to suppress all the evidence that was denied by the trial court. After trial and on appeal to the 4th DCA, the appellate court found the motion should have been granted and the trial court was reversed with instructions to discharge Mr. Stinson for all charges. Stinson v. State, 117 So. 3d 859 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013).
Ms. Cohen represented Brittany Sierra and was able to convince the State to drop the case against her client, who was accused of killing and burying her child in her backyard.
Ms. Cohen was 2nd chair on the Oneal Ron Morris case, where her client was accused of multiple counts of practicing medicine without a license and manslaughter; that case was ultimately resolved with a plea.