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State-Administered Indigent Defense Systems, 2013

NCJ Number
250249
Date Published
November 2016
Author(s)
Suzanne M. Strong, Ph.D., <em>Bureau of Justice Statistics</em>
Publication Type
Publication
Annotation
Describes the methods for providing representation in criminal defense and civil, juvenile and appeals cases in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
Abstract

Describes the methods for providing representation in criminal defense and civil, juvenile, and appeals cases in 28 states and the District of Columbia. The report details various aspects of indigent defense delivery systems by jurisdiction, such as type of litigating attorneys, cases closed, caseload standards and guidelines, funding sources, fees for representation, how indigence is determined, role of advisory boards or commission, and standards for assigned or appointed counsel. Data are from the 2013 National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems, the first census of all methods of providing indigent defense services in the United States.

Highlights
  • Of the 28 states and the District of Columbia that had state-administered indigent defense systems in 2013-
    - Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia had either governmental or nongovernmental public defenders providing representation for indigent clients.
    - Eight states and the District of Columbia required indigent clients to pay both an application fee to receive representation and recoupment for legal services provided.
    - In nine states the governor appointed the chief executives of the indigent defense delivery system.
    - Six states reported fewer than 10 full-time equivalent investigators on staff for public defender offices.
  • Between 2007 and 2013, 16 of the 22 states with state-administered public defender offices increased the number of full-time equivalent litigating attorneys.
  • In 2013, state-administered systems closed an estimated 2,696,950 criminal, appellate, civil, and juvenile cases.
Date Modified: May 03, 2017

The number and types of cases closed, number of full-time litigating attorneys, and caseload calculations were updated for Connecticut, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia. These changes were made based on feedback from indigent defense experts in those states. The Methodology was updated to include more detail about universe identification and calculation of full-time equivalent workloads.

Date Created: November 15, 2016