The Public Defender’s Office provides legal counsel to indigent persons who have been charged with committing a felony or a misdemeanor. If you are charged with a crime and cannot afford an attorney, you can ask the Superior Court judge to appoint the Public Defender to represent you. The Court initially determines whether or not a person is "indigent" or financially incapable of hiring a private attorney. This usually takes place at the first court appearance. You are asked if you can afford an attorney and, if not, you fill out a financial form. The Public Defender’s Office initially reviews the financial forms to determine qualification for appointed counsel.
By appointment of the Superior Court judge, the Public Defender provides legal counsel to juveniles charged with committing a crime. The Public Defender may also represent those who are involuntarily committed to mental institutions and placed in an involuntary conservatorship. Our office does not handle infractions, civil or family law matters.
In the event there is some kind of conflict where the Public Defender’s Office cannot represent you, your case is referred to the Conflict Panel. The Conflict Panel consists of local private attorneys. The case is assigned to one of these attorneys by the Conflict Administrator