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An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Defense

Indigent Defense

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sets forth the right to counsel in federal criminal prosecutions. Through a series of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, the right to counsel has been extended to all criminal prosecutions—state or federal, felony or misdemeanor—that carry a sentence of imprisonment.

National Survey Of Indigent Defense Systems (NSIDS), 2013

In 2013, the National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems (NSIDS) was designed as a census of all forms of indigent defense public defender, contract counsel, and assigned or appointed counsel in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Indigent defense was characterized as state-administered (one or two central offices directing indigent defense for the entire state) or county-administered (each county provides and administers indigent defense, without a state central coordinating office).