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Public Defender

The Public Defender’s Office defends indigent persons charged with violations of law that could result in incarceration upon conviction and provides representation to indigent parties in Family Court matters.

Eligibility:  In order to qualify for services, clients must fill out a financial affidavit and return it to the Office of Indigent Defense, located in the County Attorney's Office: 48 Court Street Canton, New York.

After the application is reviewed by the Office of Indigent Defense, a recommendation is made to the court regarding whether an attorney should be assigned or denied.  The judge ultimately determines whether or not to assign an attorney.

Assigned Attorney:  If a client is determined to be eligible for an assigned attorney, the Office of Indigent Defense will notify the client if s/he will be represented by the Public Defender’s Office, the Conflict Defender’s Office, or an attorney on the assigned counsel list.

Fees for Services:  The Public Defender’s services are free to indigent clients unless a judge orders repayment to St. Lawrence County by the client or his/her parents.

Attorneys:  Attorneys are highly skilled and dedicated.  They are prepared to proceed to trial with their clients’ cases.  In situations where a trial is ill-advised, they work hard to achieve the best plea bargain for their clients.  In many cases, they help clients address the underlying cause that brought them to the point of arrest by recommending drug/alcohol treatment programs, mental health programs, and alternatives to incarceration.

Support Staff:  The support staff of the Public Defender’s Office assists the attorneys in preparation of the client’s case for court.  They also assist the client to ensure they are informed of the progress of the case and its status. They may answer questions the client may have but cannot give legal advice.

Change of Address/Phone:  Clients that have a change of address or phone number please email us using our contact form or call  379-2115.