In 2017, Melba left the State Attorney’s office to join the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida as Deputy Director. She worked to change police practices, expand voting rights, and reform the criminal justice system. Melba was among the senior leadership team that passed the historic Voting Restoration Amendment, so Floridians with past felonies could vote. Whether working with legislators in Tallahassee or police chiefs in Miami-Dade, Melba’s work at the ACLU of Florida always focused on ending mass incarceration in Florida.
Melba is the immediate past president of the National Black Prosecutors Association and the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association in South Florida. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Prosecution Function Committee of the American Bar Association.
During the nearly three decades of Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s time as State Attorney, Miami-Dade has suffered a grossly unequal application of justice. From 2010 to 2015, Black Miamians were 230% more likely to be jailed before being found guilty of any crime and over 250% more likely to be convicted of a crime when compared to white Miamians. Another example is the extreme disparities among the kids that State Attorney Rundle chooses to charge as adults. State Attorney Rundle sent 134 juveniles accused of non-violent crimes to adult court between 2014 and 2019, and 129 or 96% were girls and boys of color. Melba will fight to end racial disparities that have disproportionately hurt Miami-Dade’s Black and brown communities.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has been in office for 26 years – and it shows! Her office still employs Reagan-era policies from the 1980s that we now know fuel mass incarceration and create massive racial disparities. Our community deserves a State Attorney who implements real reforms that reduce crime while safely reducing the incarcerated population.
Join Melba in this fight for a new era of accountability and equal justice in Miami-Dade County.