Honorable Jeri B. Cohen, JD
Judge Jeri Beth Cohen recently retired from her role as a circuit judge in the Dependency and Criminal Drug Court Divisions in Miami-Dade County, Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Boston University, her Master of Arts degree at Harvard University, and her Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University Law Center. While Judge Cohen has presided in several divisions of the county and circuit courts since 1992, her primary assignment and true passion is in the Dependency Division of the Juvenile Court. Judge Cohen has used her experience in the areas of substance abuse, mental health, early childhood development, and trauma to create an innovative approach to the treatment of addiction in both the criminal and dependency drug courts.
In 1999, Judge Cohen established the first Dependency Drug Court in Miami and one of the first in the nation. The Miami Dependency Drug Court serves as a Family Drug Court Peer Learning Court for Children and Family Futures and the National Family Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance program. It continues to be recognized as an exemplary court. Judge Cohen’s strong belief in treatment courts and the unique role the judiciary and community partners play in protecting children from abuse and neglect is what defines her. Since 2013, Judge Cohen has also presided over the Miami-Dade County Adult Criminal Drug Court, where she has incorporated family-centered interventions in her work with defendants.
Judge Cohen has been very influential in integrating child welfare with behavioral health in Miami-Dade County, and she is nationally recognized as an expert on issues relating to child welfare, substance abuse, and mental health. She has worked on a national level with the Department of Justice and the National Drug Court Institute to develop curricula and train drug courts across the country
Judge Cohen currently chairs the Florida Association of Drug Court Professionals and sits on both the board of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the executive committee of the South Florida Behavioral Health Network. She is the past chair of the Statewide Court Improvement Project, responsible for bringing state dependency courts into compliance with federal child welfare requirements. Serving in this capacity for four years, Judge Cohen set up the statewide Model Court program for Florida and the Florida Dependency Bench book.