OCPD: Gideon's Legacy In Connecticut

Gideon's Legacy In Connecticut


Susan O. Storey, Chief Public Defender

The Division of Public Defender Services is an independent agency of the State of Connecticut. A seven member Public Defender Services Commission is responsible for setting policies, hiring personnel, and appointing a Chief and Deputy Chief Public Defender. Commission members are appointed by the Governor, the Chief Justice and the leadership of the General Assembly.

Public defenders provide representation in adult and juvenile misdemeanor and felony cases, as well as appeals and other post conviction matters, to persons who cannot afford an attorney. 

In most years, public defenders handle nearly 80% of the criminal cases coming before the Judicial District courts, and half of the cases coming before the Geographic Area courts and the delinquency cases brought before the Juvenile courts. In addition, thousands of cases are handled annually by members of the private bar serving as special public defenders. That translates to tens of thousands of cases per year.

Public defender offices serve all of Connecticut’s courthouses. This includes all of the Judicial District courts (JD’s), where the most serious matters are heard, the Geographical Area courts (GA’s), and the Juvenile courts. 

Specialized units have also been established within the Office of the Chief Public Defender, in order to ensure the most effective representation possible:

Capital Defense and Trial Services Unit is responsible for providing representation in death penalty and other complex felony cases.

Legal Services Unit is responsible for representing indigent persons in appeals before the Connecticut Appellate and Supreme Courts.

Habeas Corpus Unit is responsible for representing individuals who challenge the legality of their imprisonment or the amount of time they have to serve.

Juvenile Post Conviction and Re-entry Unit is responsible for representing delinquent children committed to the Department of Children and Families.

Psychiatric Defense Unit is responsible for representing persons before the Psychiatric Security Review Board who are acquitted by reason of mental disease.

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"There is the potential for great nobility in the legal profession. And what is most noble, most laudable about this profession is present in you and what you strive for, fight for, and believe in: helping those who cannot help themselves; fighting for people's basic fundamental rights."
 The Honorable Joette Katz
Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court
From remarks made at the Division of Public Defender Services 25th Anniversary Dinner, October 2000


Content Last Modified on 5/23/2011 10:12:34 AM