public defender

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Public Defender

An attorney appointed by a court or employed by the government to represent indigent defendants in criminal actions.

Cross-references

Right to Counsel.

public defender

n. an elected or appointed public official (usually of a county), who is an attorney regularly assigned by the courts to defend people accused of crimes who cannot afford a private attorney. In larger counties the public defender has a large case load, numerous deputy public defenders and office staff. In each Federal Judicial District there is also a federal public defender, and some states have a state public defender to supervise the provision of attorneys to convicted indigents for appeals.

public defender

a lawyer provided by the state to represent a person accused of a crime. Clearly, where there is respect for the human right of a fair trial, there has to be a separation of powers between the public defender and the prosecution - something that is difficult where there maybe a similar ‘civil service’ type of career structure and movement of individuals between divisions. They are well known in the USA and the system is the subject of an experiment in Scotland. It is now provided for in English legislation and the precise system is a matter of consultation. See CRIMINAL DEFENCE SERVICE.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 2009, in order to provide additional guidance to public defenders considering case refusal, the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants published the "Eight Guidelines of Public Defense Related to Excessive Workloads.
Clayton Nance Award was conceived by the FPDA in 1977 to recognize an individual whose career embodies dedication to the advancement of the public defender mission to ensure equal justice for all.
Public Defender, 13th Judicial Circuit President, Florida Public Defender Association
mix would not be comparable--the public defenders would be left with a
83) The system underwent reorganization in 1989, eliminating contract counsel and replacing them with professional, full-time public defenders that staffed offices covering all counties within the state.
Yet historians have largely neglected the "little known" story of how and why public defenders came to occupy such a central place in California's criminal courtrooms.
Some public defenders are building careers, and value the trial experience they can get right out of law school.
Lobbyists for the state's public defenders and the Oregon State Bar hope to win an additional $29 million in public defender funding from a state budget that's enjoying rising revenues for the first time in years.
However, Ewen Smith, partner at Birmingham city centre-based Glaisyers solicitors, claimed public defenders led to a two-tier justice system where wealth determined the quality of defence a suspect received.
5 million on prosecution and related legal costs in 1990, while public defenders spent only about $1.
Fourteen of the 20 state attorneys requested a delay in meeting the deadline, as did 14 public defenders.
While public defenders are persistent in seeking increased funding, they are lax in making sure clients are really indigent or in seeking and collecting fees from clients.