Public Defenders play an important role in our social fabric by insuring that those who can least afford legal representation in our Courts are fully protected. The constitutions of both the United States and the State of Indiana require that indigent persons charged with criminal offenses be provided effective representation at public expense at both the trial and appellate levels. In addition, case law and legislation have required the appointment of counsel in other areas. Without a system in place to provide for these needs, those who can least afford legal representation would have no defense, no protection.
The Shelby County Public Defender Agency was created and became operational in April, 1999. The Agency has responsibilty for the representation of indigent clients in all areas of Shelby County Courts, where a person is entitled to an attorney as a matter of law. We have a Chief Defender and eight (8) contracted Attorneys that accept assigned felony cases from Shelby Circuit Court, Superior 1 and Superior 2, Juvenile Court Delinquency-CHINS; Termination/Paternity Cases and all felony criminal appeals. In addition, Attorneys employed by the Agency handle child support delinquency cases when incarceration is imminent.
Our office follows State guidelines requiring experienced attorneys with caseload limits in order to provide competent counsel for the indigent.