The Office of the Legal Defender was created in 1995 to provide the county an alternate indigent defense office that could render excellent legal defense while efficiently and cost-effectively handling the burgeoning number of indigent defense cases. Having the option of assigning conflict and overflow cases to another county agency allowed the county to significantly reduce the costs of directing these cases to private counsel.
The founding philosophy of the Office of the Legal Defender, which concentrated on acquiring exceptional staff and providing them with modern equipment, quickly attracted experienced and respected attorneys and support staff. Initially, the Office operated with eight attorneys and five support staff members handling only criminal matters. The Office expanded and now handles, criminal matters,civil matters in juvenile dependency / severance cases, and appeals utilizing a professional staff of 120 employees.
Throughout the eighteen years of operations, the Office has maintained its high standards of traditional representation while incorporating the latest technology in an economical fashion.
Serving the Public
The Office of the Legal Defender continues to rival any private sector counterpart in legal knowledge, effectiveness, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility.
With the finest legal representation as the overriding goal, the Office maintains its successful operating practice of:
- conducting self-assessments to confirm that established policies and procedures conform to legal, ethical, and government standards and goals;
- participating in inter-agency activities to maintain currentness and cooperation;
- updating Office members on legal issues, court matters, and governmental policy changes;
- supporting the in-house and inter-agency use of advanced technology; and
- providing training opportunities to Office members to enhance their skills.
The Office still impresses outsiders with its technological capabilities. The internal computer programs remain regularly updated. Digital equipment is provided to produce savings in outside processing. Staff members are encouraged to take advantage of the county’s electronic programs for gathering information, communicating with other agencies, and handling routine business. Increased use of advanced technology allowed OLD to meet goals of serving clients, and subsequently the general public, in a measurable, cost-effective manner.
mission of the Office of the Legal Defender is to provide quality legal representation to indigent individuals assigned to us by the court, thus safeguarding the fundamental legal rights of each member of the community. Vision Statement
In order to provide the highest quality legal representation to our clients, the Legal Defender will:
Ensure that every client receives high quality and aggressive representation without regard to their economic or social situation and without regard to the nature of the accusations against them.
Defend the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arizona.
Protect our clients from any governmental overreaching.