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Publication County-based and Local Public Defender Offices, 2007

Donald J. Farole Jr., Ph.D., Lynn Langton, Bureau of Justice Statistics

September 16, 2010    NCJ 231175

Examines the provision of public defender services in the 27 states and the District of Columbia in which indigent defense services were funded and administered by counties or local jurisdictions in 2007. The report presents an overview of county-based public defender offices in the context of public defender offices nationwide. It provides data on staffing, expenditures, attorney training, program standards and guidelines, and caseload data, including the number and types of cases received by county-based public defender offices and the number of attorneys needed to meet professional caseload guidelines. The report examines similarities and differences in the characteristics of public defender offices based on case volume, as measured by the number of cases received per office in 2007.


  • County-based public defender offices received more than 4 million cases and spent nearly $1.5 billion in operating expenditures in 2007.
  • About three-quarters (73%) of county-based public defender offices exceeded the maximum recommended limit of cases received per attorney in 2007.
  • County-based offices employed a median of 7 litigating public defenders.

Press Release
Full report (PDF 393KB)
ASCII file (36KB)
Spreadsheet (18KB)

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Census of Public Defender Offices (CPDO)

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