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Indigent Defense


The Office of Indigent Defense consists of the Public Defender’s Office, the Conflict Defender’s Office, and the Assigned Counsel Program.

The St. Lawrence County Public and Conflict Defender Offices represent individuals in local criminal courts, County Court, Supreme Court, and Family Court.  Neither office is a private law firm and may only represent individuals assigned by the Office of Indigent Defense who have cases pending in St. Lawrence County.  Cases that cannot be assigned to the Public Defender's Office are assigned to the Conflict Defender's Office; this is done when there is a conflict of interest.  If neither office can provide services due to a conflict of interest, the case is then forwarded to the Assigned Counsel Program for assignment.

The Public and Conflict Defender's Offices do not handle civil cases, including divorces, landlord/tenant matters, medical malpractice/personal injury claims, or credits and judgments.

The eligiblity screening process provided by the Office of Indigent Defense serves as an aid to the Court; the power to determine whether an individual defendant is eligible for assigned counsel rests with the Court.  The Office of Indigent Defense Coordinator is responsible for accepting, reviewing, and assigning cases to the Public or Conflict Defender's Offices, or when applicable, forwarding cases to the Assigned Counsel Coordinator for assignment to the 18B Panel or private local attorneys.  Case eligibility is determined by the charge and the financial status of the applicant.   It is important that you submit all court documents and verification of assistance or income with your application.    

Individuals who believe they may qualify for free attorney services may apply for legal representation through the Office of Indigent Defense.  The office is located on the first floor of the St. Lawrence County Courthouse, within the St. Lawrence County Probation Department.  Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  Clients may contact the office at (315) 379-2401 during business hours.   


Office of Indigent Defense Coordinator
Faith St.Hilaire
48 Court Street, Public Safety Bldg.
Canton, N.Y. 13617
Phone: 315-379-2401
Fax: 315-379-0401

Public Defender
James McGahan
48 Court Street, Corner Office
Canton, N.Y.  13617
Phone:  315-379-2393
Fax:  315-386-8241

Conflict Defender
Amy Dona
48 Court Street, Public Safety Bldg.
Canton, N.Y.  13617
Phone:  315-379-2282
Fax:  315-379-2300

Assigned Counsel Coordinator
Scott Goldie
2 Judson Street
Canton, N.Y.  13617
Phone:  315-386-8544

Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Inc.
17 Hodskin Street
Canton, N.Y.  13617
Phone:  315-386-4586

Prisoners' Legal Services of New York

New York State Court Help