The Office of the Public Defender represents indigent people charged with felony crimes in Circuit Court from arraignment through trial. This office will likely resolve 1,000 cases in the calendar year, involving crimes that range from telephone harassment to capital murder.
The Public Defender ensures that every accused citizen, regardless of financial resources, receives zealous and effective representation as mandated by the United States and Mississippi Constitutions.
About Public Defenders
All of Jackson County's Public Defenders are licensed attorneys, like any other attorney who practices privately. Each attorney in the Public Defenders Office (including Assistant Public Defenders) and the Appellate Public Defender is a full-time employee of Jackson County, and does not engage in the private practice of law. They are required, like all other practicing attorneys, to participate in continuing legal education programs.
The Public Defender Office plays a necessary and integral role in the administration of the judicial system in Jackson County. Its members proudly ensure that the Constitutional rights of their clients are protected and strive to provide expert legal service without cost to the client. The offices also offer a benefit to the taxpayers of Jackson County as appointment of attorneys on a case-by-case basis would impose a substantial burden on the county budget.
Background of Public Defender
The office was established by a Ford Foundation Grant in the 1970's and has been in continuous operation since. It is one of only four full-time public defender offices in the state.