County Attorney
Geri Bonzon-Keenan

County Attorney's Office
111 NW 1st Street, Suite 2810
Miami, Florida 33128

Public Records Custodian
Tomeka Ladson



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Attorney Profile

Jess M. McCarty

Practice Areas


    • University of Illinois, 1993, J.D., 1993, Magna Cum Laude
    • Northwestern University, B.A.
      with honors in Urban Planning and
      Political Science, 1988


    • Hon. Norman C. Roettger, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1993-95
    • Hon. Rosemary Barkett, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1995-96

    Court Admissions

    • The Florida Bar, 1996
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1997
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1996

    Jess M. McCarty

    Joined the Office in 1996
    Executive Assistant County Attorney

    [email protected] 305-375-1634

    Jess McCarty is the Executive Assistant County Attorney.  The County Attorney, the First Assistant and the Executive Assistant are the management team for the County Attorney's Office.

    Jess supervises the development of County Commission legislation and agendas.  He also works closely with the Chair and Members of the County Commission, the Mayor, Department Directors and Assistant County Attorneys to develop, prepare and review ordinances and resolutions for the Board's policy consideration.  

    In addition, Jess has led Miami-Dade County's lobbying efforts in Tallahassee before the Florida Legislature and Governor over the last 14 years, and has advocated in Tallahassee on behalf of the County for the last 27 years. 

    Jess advocates for the County's state legislative priorities and package in coordination with the Chair and Members of the County Commission, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade State Legislative Delegation. 

    Such priorities have included securing the passage of both substantive legislation and appropriations, such as:

    • Extending the Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Documentary Stamp Surtax for 20 years, which generates tens of millions of dollars each year for affordable housing in Miami-Dade County;
    • Securing funding for the PortMiami Tunnel; 
    • Providing a dedicated funding source for the Miami-Dade Children's Courthouse; and
    • Securing funding for the Ludlam Trail, the Underline, the South Dade Trail, senior housing assistance repair, senior meals and the Miami Military Museum.

    Jess also defends the County from the numerous bills and joint resolutions filed each session that would adversely affect the Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter, preempt local ordinances and policies, or have a negative fiscal impact on County taxpayers.  During the annual 60-day session and committee weeks leading up to it, Jess has developed an expertise in quickly identifying issues that impact Miami-Dade County among the thousands of bills, amendments and line-item appropriations considered each year.  Such legislation has included bills that would have adversely impacted the Urban Development Boundary as approved by Miami-Dade County voters, as well as dozens of Miami-Dade County's ordinances, including those related to local preference in contracting, living wage requirements for county contracts, wage theft, wetlands protections, regulating for-hire vehicles, Miami International Airport, and PortMiami.

    Jess also advocated on behalf of the County in Tallahassee before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in both 1997-1998 and 2017-2018.  The Constitution Revision Commission convenes once every 20 years under the Florida Constitution to propose changes to the state constitution.  

    Among his prior work in the County Attorney's Office, Jess served as counsel to a number of county departments.  Among them, he served as counsel for PortMiami for more than a decade, where he provided legal advice on seaport matters, including cruise and cargo line transactions, and litigated on behalf of PortMiami in federal and state court.  

    Jess has earned a preeminent AV peer review rating (5.0 out of 5.0) from Martindale-Hubbell.

    Selected Cases & Matters

    • City of Miami v. McGrath, 824 So.2d 143 (Florida Supreme Court, 2002) (invalidating City of Miami Parking surcharge).  
    • Miami Heat Ltd. Partnership v. Leahy, 682 So.2d 198 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1996)

    Prior Experience

    • Policy Aide, Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, 1988-1991.

    Community Involvement, Awards, & Recognition

    • Member, Florida Association of Counties - Constitution Revision Commission Steering Committee, 2017-2018
    • Member, Florida Association of County Attorney's - Medical Marijuana Task Force, 2017
    • Legal Leaders, Top Rated Lawyer
    • Recipient "Elaine Gordon 'You Made a Difference' Award", Miami-Dade County Days, Tallahassee, 2011
    • "Most Effective Lawyer in Lobbying", South Florida Daily Business Review, 2008
    • "Theresa Lintz Memorial Award" for excellence in local government advocacy, Florida Association for Intergovernmental Relations, a statewide organization made up of advocates for cities, counties and special districts, 2004
    • President, Florida Association for Intergovernmental Relations, 2001-2002
    • University of Illinois Law Review, Notes & Comments Editor
    • Order of the Coif