With the experience of over 50 jury trials under her belt, Carmen Maria Vizcaino is a member of the Florida Bar, the Bar for the Southern District of Florida, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Her practice of over 20 years has included litigation in the areas of Criminal, Family and USDA Snap litigation.
Carmen was born, raised and educated in Miami Dade County, the daughter of Cuban immigrants. She worked her way through school at Florida International University, first as a court reporter and then as legal secretary. Working full time during the day and attending night school, she graduated Magna Cum Laude and secured a full merit scholarship to law school. Though Carmen graduated salutatorian of her law school class, she walked away from big law offers to pursue criminal defense and civil rights work.
Carmen began her career by litigating landmark cases such as the State v. Hardy decision which extended Gideon’s right to counsel to jailed defendants in misdemeanor cases. In her over twenty years of practice Carmen has litigated high-profile cases in both State and Federal Courts in South Florida routinely dealing with not merely the legal aspects of a case but also the public relations fallout from a case. Carmen has worked on several national security cases in New York, Virginia and Florida and has litigated one of the first cases to arise under the then newly enacted Patriot Act. Carmen also handles death penalty and sexual violent predator civil committment cases, both are handled by only a select few Miami attorneys.
Carmen is the past president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers- Miami. During her presidency and since then, she worked closely with the judiciary and other criminal justice partners to ensure appropriate access and process to those who daily work is securing justice and sits on several committees which set forth police within the Miami Dade criminal justice system. Carmen spearheaded a lawsuit against the State of Florida to ensure the due process of individuals charged with crimes.
Carmen has also been involved in politics and policy. She is Co-chair and founder of Slay Our Vote a non-profit organization which advocates for women’s rights. Through this organization, Carmen has been a mentor to many young women attorneys in her efforts to bring equality and diversity to the legal field.
Carmen has been a legal commentator on certain issues for media outlets such as Univision, and the Miami Herald.