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 and appointing authority for the Division is the Public Defender Services Commission. The seven (7) members of the Commission 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 separate components: a Commission 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 providing legal services throughout the state to indigent persons accused of crimes as required by both the United
States and Connecticut Constitutions.

Section 51-291(m), 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 Department 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.

As of October 1, 2017, the chief administrative officer for the Division, appointed by the Commission, is Chief Public Defender Attorney Christine Perra Rapillo. The Deputy Chief Public Defender is Attorney John Day. The duties of the Chief Public Defender are specified in Sec. 51-291, C.G.S.,

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, 4TH Floor, in Hartford. In FY2016/17, administrative staff consisted of Director of Training, Director of Assigned Counsel, Director of Delinquency Defense and Child Protection, Legal Counsel (Director), Financial Director, Director of Human Resources, Chief Investigator, Chief Social Worker, four (4) Managers (Administrative Services, Information Services and Research, Information Systems and 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-eight (38) combined field offices and six (6) specialized units (reflecting the combined Habeas and CTIP unit) and branches of the Office of Chief Public Defender. Pursuant to Sec. 51-296 C.G.S., public defenders may be appointed to represent indigent individuals in any criminal action, any habeas corpus proceeding arising from a criminal matter, any extradition proceeding, or in any delinquency matter. C.G.S 51-296 also provides that public defenders may be appointed for all children and for indigent parents in child protection matters, for indigent contemnors in family support magistrate and other family matters and as attorney for the minor child or guardian ad litem for children from indigent families in custody matters.

Representation is provided to clients in both adult and juvenile misdemeanor and felony cases, including appeals and other post-conviction matters as well as child protection and GAL 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 new evidence (both DNA and non-DNA evidence) might reasonably exonerate inmates who are innocent and who have been wrongfully convicted. Representation is also provided to children and indigent parents in child protection matters, including appeals and in family matters for indigent parties where there is a contempt finding and a risk of incarceration or for children in certain custody disputes.

Content Last Modified on 4/4/2018 11:30:28 AM