Conducted during 1999-2000, this survey represented the first systematic study of indigent criminal defense services by BJS since the 1980s. The study collected indigent criminal defense data at the trial level for (1) the 100 most populous counties in the United States, (2) 197 counties outside of the 100 most populous counties, and (3) states that entirely funded criminal indigent defense services. Information obtained includes the number of program staff, program expenditures, and types of cases received by indigent criminal defense programs.
The universe for this study consisted of indigent criminal defense programs that handled felony cases at the trial level in the 100 most populous counties in the United States. These counties were selected with certainty from a list of approximately 3,100 counties and independent cities in the United States, ranked according to 1997 intercensal population estimates.
Once the 100 largest counties were selected, the indigent criminal defense programs and county officials in these counties were identified.