Who We Are
Message From the Public Defender
Welcome to the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Our office was established in 1965 to provide legal representation for poor people facing the loss of their liberty in the justice system. We ensure that the right to counsel envisioned by the United States and Arizona Constitutions is realized.
Our office is dedicated to the basic American ideal that the quality of justice a person receives should never depend upon how much money he or she has. Our attorneys and staff strive to provide high quality legal representation to our clients, and believe that defending the rights of our clients protects the rights of all members of our community.
Areas of Practice
Public Defenders are appointed by the Court on limited matters to protect the rights of the accused and those at risk of loss of liberty. We represent individuals on felonies, certain misdemeanors, probation violations, and appeals when the Court has determined that the individual is not able to afford to hire an attorney.
Our Office is not authorized to provide representation on matters:
- Child custody
- In any of the local city courts
- Other civil proceedings
Our services are mandated by the 6th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution; Gideon v. Wainwright, 83 S.Ct. 792 (1963); Art. 2, §24 of the Arizona Constitution; A.R.S. §§11-581, 587 (Public Defender Enabling Act) and A.R.S. §36.545.04(A).
The mission of Office of the Public Defender is to provide quality legal representation to indigent individuals assigned to us by the court so that the fundamental legal rights of each member of the community are safeguarded.
- To protect the rights of our clients and guarantee that they receive equal protection under the law regardless of race, creed, national origin or socioeconomic status
- To obtain and promote dispositions that are effective in reducing recidivism, improving clients’ well-being and enhancing quality of life for all
- To ensure that all ethical, constitutional responsibilities, and mandates are fulfilled
- To enhance the professionalism and productivity of all staff
- To produce the most respected and well-trained attorneys in the criminal defense community
- To work in partnership with other agencies to improve access and develop rational justice system policies
- To achieve recognition as an effective and dynamic leader among organizations responsible for legal representation of indigent people
- To perform our obligations in a fiscally responsible manner