OCPD: Organization and Administration

Organization and Administration

Organization Chart


Commission Members

Guidelines on Indigent Defense


The Division of Public Defender Services is an agency of the State of Connecticut, established by Chapter 887 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  The policy-making body and appointing authority for the Division is the Public Defender Services Commission. The seven (7) members are appointed for three-year terms, in accordance with Sec. 51-289, C.G.S., by the Governor, the Chief Justice the Speaker of the House, the Senate President Pro Tempore, and the House of Representatives Minority and Majority Leaders.  The current members of the Commission are listed under Commission Members, together with their appointing authorities and dates of appointment.

As established by statute, the Division is made up of three (3) separate components: a Commission, which is responsible for policy-making, appointments of all personnel, and compensation matters; an Office of Chief Public Defender, charged with statewide administration of the public defender system and the provision of specialized legal representation; and, the individual public defender offices in the thirteen (13) Judicial Districts, the twenty (20) Geographical Areas and the twelve (13) Juvenile venues of the Superior Court, providing legal services throughout the State to indigent persons accused of crimes as required by both the United States and Connecticut Constitutions. The six (6) specialized units of the Division include the Legal Services (Appellate) Unit, located in Hamden, Connecticut; the Connecticut Innocence Project/Post-Conviction Unit, located in Rocky Hill; the Psychiatric Defense Unit, located at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown; the Capital Defense Unit and the Juvenile Post-Conviction and Reentry Unit are located at the Office of Chief Public Defender, Hartford; and the Connecticut Innocence Project, Hartford. the Assigned Counsel (formerly Special Public Defenders) Unit here at the Office of the Chief Public Defender and the Child Protection Unit located at 330 Main Street.

Section 51-289(l), C.G.S., specifies that the Commission is an "autonomous body within the judicial department for fiscal and budgetary purposes only."  As such, the Commission is part of the Judicial Branch of government, but is otherwise autonomous within that branch of state government.

All attorneys and other employees of the Division are appointed by the Public Defender Services Commission.  The Commission also establishes the compensation plan for the Division, approves certain expenditures, and establishes policies and procedures relating to the operation of the Division.

The chief administrative officer for the Division, appointed by the Commission, is Chief Public Defender Attorney Susan O. Storey.  The Deputy Chief Public Defender is Attorney Brian S. Carlow.  The duties of the Chief Public Defender are specified in Sec. 51-291, C.G.S., and include supervision of all personnel and operations of the Division, training of all attorneys and support staff, and preparation of all grant and budget requests for approval by the Commission and submission to the Governor.

In addition to the Chief and Deputy Chief Public Defender, management and administration of
the Division is carried out by the office of Chief Public Defender, located at 30 Trinity Street, in Hartford. Administrative staff consists of Director of Training, Director of Assigned Counsel, Director of Delinquency Defense and Child Protection, Legal Counsel, a Financial Director, a Director of Human Resources, Chief Investigator, Chief Social Worker, three (3) Managers (Administrative Services, Information and Research Services, and Information Systems), Manager of Legal Technology Planning and Staff Development, seventeen (17) administrative staff, and two (2) secretarial positions.

Public Defender services are provided to “indigent” accused adults and juveniles throughout Connecticut at thirty-seven (37) field offices and six (6) specialized units and branches of the Office of Chief Public Defender. Pursuant to Sec. 51-296, C.G.S., public defenders may be appointed to represent individuals in any criminal action, any habeas corpus proceeding arising from a criminal matter, any extradition proceeding, or in any delinquency matter.

Representation is provided to clients in both adult and juvenile misdemeanor and felony cases, including appeals and other post-conviction matters. Public defenders also represent clients acquitted by reason of insanity before the Psychiatric Security Review Board pursuant to Sec.17a-596(d), C.G.S., post-conviction petitions for DNA testing in accordance with Sec 54-102kk(e), and through the public defender Connecticut Innocence Project in post-conviction claims where forensic evidence may exonerate inmates who have been wrongfully convicted. Representation in child protection and family matters is provided by assigned counsel contracted to provide legal services in those cases.

As of July 1, 2011, the Division of Public Defender Services gained responsibility for Child Protection; representation and guardian ad-litem services afforded to indigent children and parents in child welfare, family and child support matters In accordance with the Connecticut General Statutes and by order of the Superior Court.

Content Last Modified on 11/10/2014 12:38:01 PM