Court Appointed Attorneys
To Criminal Defendants
The Trial Court will appoint counsel for indigent or partially indigent defendants on criminal proceedings. Persons arrested and arraigned on a criminal warrant are given the opportunity to apply for court appointed counsel at their initial court appearance. An attorney will be appointed to represent individuals accused of crimes who cannot afford to hire their own lawyer if:
- The offense charged is punishable by 93 days or more days in jail
- The offense charged requires, on conviction, a minimum term in jail
- The court determines that it might sentence the defendant to jail
There are minimum requirements to qualify for court appointed counsel. Defendants may be required to reimburse court appointed counsel costs at the conclusion of their case.
To Other Parties
The Trial Court Family Division at the Juvenile Center will appoint guardians ad litem in cases of juvenile abuse or neglect. The guardian ad litem may be an attorney. The Family Division will also appoint counsel for delinquency / delinquency appellate proceedings. Attorneys are appointed upon request for parents on neglect cases. For more information, contact Juvenile Court.
Probate Court will appoint an attorney in all cases involving a mentally ill or developmentally disabled person. In all guardianship and conservatorship cases involving adult wards, the Court will appoint a guardian ad litem and may appoint a guardian ad litem in cases involving minor ward. A guardian ad litem is a person appointed to protect the interests of an infant, an incompetent adult, or a missing person who is involved in a Probate Court case. For more information, contact Probate Court.
The Trial Court does not appoint attorneys in civil matters including domestic relations matters.
The office of the public defender shall be appointed in all felony cases unless a conflict within the office is evident. In the event that the Court is notified by the office of the public defender that a conflict exists or a conflict is otherwise apparent, the Court shall appoint an attorney from an approved list of eligible attorneys.
Attorneys must make application for placement on the approved list by submitting their name and qualifications to the office of the Trial Court Administrator. Applications may be submitted at any time, but the list will be updated annually in October. Please contact Trial Court Administration for any application questions.