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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs

Revised, 10/01/01 th

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Special Report
National Survey of Indigent Defense Systems, 1999

September 2001, NCJ 188464

State-Funded Indigent Defense
Services, 1999
By Carol J. DeFrances, Ph.D.
BJS Statistician

Highlights
State-funded indigent criminal defense services, 1999

In 1999 State governments provided
90% or more of the funding for indigent
criminal defense services in 21 States,
an increase of 4 States since 1982.
In 11 of these States, the State government provided 100% of the funding for
indigent criminal defense services.
Of the remaining 10 States with Statefunded programs, 7 indicated also
receiving some Federal money
to fund indigent defense services;
3 States reported support from foundation grants or client co-pays and
collections; and 1 State indicated its
largest county used a portion of its
own money to fund indigent criminal
defense services.1
This report presents findings from data
collected as part of the National Survey
of Indigent Defense Systems (NSIDS).
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
with funding from the Bureau of Justice
Assistance conducted NSIDS in 19992000. A previous report described
indigent criminal defense services
in the Nation's 100 most populous
counties.2
1

Information for Maryland was taken from
the website for the Maryland Manual at
<http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us>.
2
Indigent Defense Services in Large
Counties, 1999, BJS Bulletin, November
2000, NCJ 184932.

• Assigned counsel programs 
19 States provided indigent defense
services through assigned counsel
programs. Ten States maintained a
roster of private attorneys who could
be appointed to represent indigent
criminal defendants. Five of the ten
• The 21 States, accounting for 27% of States had formal procedures for
the U.S. population, spent $662 million
removing attorneys from the roster.
on indigent criminal defense services
• Contract attorney programs 
in 1999, more than double the total
11 States funded contract attorney
amount in 1982 in constant dollars.
programs. Contracts were adminis• Public defender programs  19 of
tered to public defender offices, law
the 21 States funded public defender
firms, individual solo practitioners,
programs. Over 726,000 criminal
nonprofit organizations, or groups of
cases were received by the public
private attorneys or law firms. Five
defender programs in the 17 States
States reported competitively bidding
reporting criminal caseload data.
for indigent criminal defense services.
• In 1999, 21 State governments
funded virtually all indigent criminal
defense services; 20 States had a
combination of State and county
funds; and 9 States relied solely
on county funds.

This report examines the characteristics and operations of State-funded
indigent defense systems. State-level
information is reported for the 21
States where virtually all of the funding
for indigent criminal defense services
at the trial level comes from the State
government.3

Funding sources for indigent criminal defense services, 1999

The decentralized nature and diverse
ways of delivering indigent defense
services make collecting information
nationwide difficult. Because of their
more centralized and uniform nature,
information on State-funded systems is
easier to obtain. The 21 States
examined in this report provide the
most comprehensive State-level information collected on indigent criminal
defense services since the 1980’s.4

Funding sources
County (9)
Primarily county (8)
State and county (5)
Primarily state (6)
State (21)
Court fees (1)

The 21 States included in this report
accounted for 27% of the U.S. population in 1999 and 25% of Part 1 Uniform
Crime Report (UCR) offenses reported
Source: Improving Criminal Justice System Through Expanded Strategies and Innovative
Collaborations: Report of the National Symposium on Indigent Defense, Office of Justice
to the police in 1999.5 These 21 States
Programs, March 2000, NCJ 181344, Appendix 6, <http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/indigentdefense/
make up the largest single category of
icjs.pdf>.
funding sources for trial-level indigent
services, the 21 States delivered these districts within the State operated
criminal defense services (figure 1).
separate public defender programs,
services in a variety of ways (box on
Although each of the 21 State governments funded indigent criminal defense page 3). For example, Maine delivered with each program headed by a chief
the majority of its indigent criminal
public defender.6
3
defense services through an assigned
In 1999 county governments in nine
States (Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois,
counsel program. Oregon primarily
Expenditures for indigent criminal
Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota,
used a system of awarded contracts.
defense services
Texas, and Utah) entirely funded indigent
Minnesota
and
New
Mexico
did
not
criminal defense services. In the remaining
In 1982 the 21 States included in this
41 States indigent defense received partial have assigned counsel programs but
report spent an estimated $251 million
instead relied on statewide public
funding (20) or virtually all funding (21)
from State governments. See Improving
defender programs and contract attor- (in 1999 dollars) on all indigent defense
Criminal Justice Systems Through
ney programs.
services (table 1). In 1999 these same
Expanded Strategies and Innovative
21 States had indigent criminal
Collaborations: Report of the National
Symposium on Indigent Defense, Office of Even within specific program types, the defense expenditures of approximately
$662 million, almost 3 times the 1982
organization of the programs varied.
Justice Programs, March 2000, NCJ
181344, Appendix 6, at <http://www.ojp.
total amount. New Jersey, the most
For example, 16 of the 19 States with
usdoj.gov/indigentdefense/icjs.pdf>
populous of the 21 States, spent the
public defender programs had state4
National Criminal Defense Systems
most ($73 million) on indigent criminal
wide
systems
that
delivered
indigent
Study, BJS, September 1986, NCJ 94702,
criminal defense services through local
and Criminal Defense for the Poor, 1986,
6
This information is from a review of the
branches or offices. Typically, one
BJS Bulletin, September 1988, NCJ
statutes
for the 19 States and from
112919.
chief or state public defender had
5
Improving
Criminal Justice Systems
The 1999 State population estimates were oversight for the entire program. In the
Through Expanded Strategies and Innovataken from <http://www.census.gov/
remaining three States, the State
tive Collaborations: Report of the National
population/estimates/state/st-99-1.txt>
Symposium on Indigent Defense, Office
government provided the funding but
Part 1 UCR offense reported to the police
of Justice Programs, March 2000, NCJ
the public defender programs were
were taken trom Crime in the United
181344,
Appendices 6 and 7, at <http://
States: 1999, FBI, table 4.
locally established. Counties or judicial
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/indigentdefense/
icjs.pdf>.

2 State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999

Table 1. State-funded indigent criminal defense services,
1982 and 1999

State
Alaska
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Hawaii
Iowa
Maine
Maryland*
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Total

1999
resident
population
619,500
4,056,133
3,282,031
753,538
1,185,497
2,869,413
1,253,040
5,171,634
6,175,169
4,775,508
5,468,338
1,201,134
8,143,412
1,739,844
7,650,789
3,316,154
990,819
583,740
6,872,912
1,806,928
5,250,446

Total State indigent
defense expenditures
1982
1999
(in 1999
criminal
dollars)
defense
$6,084,323 $11,460,400
14,616,308 31,394,830
7,809,926 25,095,150
3,190,692
7,306,700
6,041,000
7,539,608
11,024,059 30,720,729
1,879,015
6,999,820
17,726,555 39,286,313
22,597,134 62,200,000
17,979,266 46,400,000
7,608,921 28,202,699
3,705,720 10,667,770
33,970,538 72,975,000
6,872,523 22,895,400
18,992,970 62,680,384
21,815,002 32,564,390
2,243,255
6,105,017
3,233,254
5,829,246
15,147,913 67,480,333
5,094,557 22,454,009
23,042,445 61,590,139

1999 total State
indigent criminal
defense operating
expenditures per
1,000 population

Total

73,165,979 $250,675,376 $661,847,937

*Fiscal year 1999 total operating expenditures for the Maryland Public
Defender Office were taken from the Maryland Archives On-line at:
<http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/
61pubdb.html.>
Sources: 1982 expenditure data taken from National Criminal Defense
Systems Study, BJS, September 1986, NCJ 94702. The 1982 expenditure
data were adjusted for inflation and presented in 1999 dollars.
1999 State population estimates came from the Census Bureau website,
<http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/statepop.html>.

defense services while Vermont, the smallest of the 21 States,
spent the least ($6 million). In terms of per capita spending,
Alaska spent the most ($19) and Missouri the least ($5).
All 21 States except Maine and Oregon expended funds for
some form of a public defender program (table 2). Most States
(19) also supported assigned counsel programs. Eleven States
indicated expenditures for contract attorney programs.

Three primary ways of providing indigent defense services
have emerged throughout the Nation. States and localities use these methods of delivering indigent defense
services either singly or in combination. This report uses
the following categories to describe indigent criminal
defense services. Individual State programs may use
slightly different terminology.
Public defender  A salaried staff of full-time or part-time
attorneys that renders indigent criminal defense services
through a public or private nonprofit organization, or as
direct government paid employees.

State
Alaskaa
Colorado
Connecticut
Delawareb
Hawaiib
Iowa
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesotac
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jerseyd
New Mexico
North Carolina
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin

$18.50
7.74
7.65
9.70
6.36
10.71
5.59
7.60
10.07
9.72
5.16
8.88
8.96
13.16
8.19
9.82
6.16
9.99
9.82
12.43
11.73

Types of indigent defense services

Table 2. Expenditures for State-funded
indigent criminal defense services, by type
of program, 1999
Public
defender

Type of program
Assigned
Contract
counsel
attorney

$9,960,400
22,763,529
22,872,200
7,306,700
7,539,608
13,173,047
0
39,286,313
10,583,000
-27,664,539
8,070,972
72,975,000
11,681,300
11,708,864
0
5,000,000
4,329,845
15,887,218
8,773,436
38,401,452

-8,322,077
955,000
--8,115,790
5,995,458
-51,617,000
0
538,159
843,715
-0
39,731,705
3,932,598
1,105,017
1,196,800
38,586,442
13,320,392
17,220,603

$1,500,000
0
1,267,950
0
0
9,431,893
174,000
-0
-0
1,753,083
0
7,709,100
329,469
24,966,324
0
302,601
0
0
5,968,084

$337,977,423 $191,480,756 $53,402,504

Note: Total public defender expenditures for Maryland were
taken from the Maryland Archives On-line at <http://www.
mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/61pubdb.
html>. Amounts for public defender, assigned counsel, and
contract programs may not sum to total criminal expenditures
in table 1.
--Information not provided or not known.
a
Expenditures for the public defender programs reflect combined
information for the Alaska Public Defender Agency and the
Office of Public Advocacy.
b
Expenditures exclude “conflict” cases in which the public
defender has a conflict of interest or an overload of cases or in
which the public defender or other primary program is otherwise
unable to handle.
c
Minnesota could not disaggregate expenditures by type of
program.
d
New Jersey reported expenditures for conflict cases and
specialty cases such as those involving the death penalty and
abuse and neglect, as well as assigned counsel expenditures,
with public defender expenditures.

Assigned counsel  The appointment from a list of private
bar members who accept cases on a judge-by-judge,
court-by-court, or case-by-case basis. This may include
an administrative component and a set of rules and guidelines governing the appointment and processing of cases
handled by the private bar members.
Contract  Nonsalaried private attorneys, bar
associations, law firms, consortiums or groups of attorneys, or nonprofit corporations that contract with a funding
source to provide court-appointed representation in a
jurisdiction.

State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999 3

Public defender programs
Location of public defender programs
Nineteen States reported funding
public defender programs. Public
defender programs in 16 of the 19
States were statewide programs with
local or regional offices located
throughout the State (table 3). In 1999,
11 of these statewide public defender
programs had an oversight commission. North Carolina, Virginia, and
West Virginia did not have statewide
public defender programs.

 In North Carolina, 13 counties

comprised 11 defender districts, each
with a public defender office. In the
remaining 87 counties, appointment of
private attorneys by the court was the
primary method of providing indigent
defense services.7

 Virginia's 20 public defender offices
served 46 of the 95 counties or
independent cities.8 In the counties or
independent cities without a public
defender program, court-appointed
counsel was the primary method used.
 15 of West Virginia's 31 judicial
circuits had public defender corporations. The remaining 16 circuits had
assigned counsel programs.9
New Hampshire and West Virginia
funded their public defender program
through an awarded contract. Nine
States reported their public defender
program was part of the State executive branch. The location and nature
7

North Carolina General Statutes,
Chapter 7A.
8
Code of Virginia, Title 19.2,  163.2.
9
Office of Legislative Auditor, Department
of Administration, State of West Virginia,
Preliminary Performance Review of Public
Defenders Service: Maximum Use of
Public Defender Corporations Needed to
Control Costs, January 1999.

Table 3. Characteristics of State-funded public defender programs, 1999
State

Governmental location
of public defender programs

Oversight
commissiona

Alaska
Colorado
Connecticutc
Delaware
Hawaii
Iowa
Marylandd
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginiae
West Virginia
Wisconsin

State executive branch
Judicial branch
Judicial branch
Independent agency of State government
State executive branch
State executive branch
State executive branch
Independent agency of State government
Judicial branch
Independent department in judicial branch
Independent nonprofit organization
State executive branch
State executive branch
Judicial branch
State executive branch
State executive branch
Judicial branch
Independent nonprofit organization
State executive branch

No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes

Statewide
programb
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

a
Information from Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 21-1-101; General Statutes of Connecticut,
Chapter 887, Title 51-289; Hawaii Revised Statutes, Vol. 14,  802; Iowa Code and Supplement,
Chapter 13B; Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 27,  9; General Laws of Massachusetts, Part
III, Title I, Chapter 211D; Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 611.215; Missouri Revised Statutes,
Chapter 600.015; New Hampshire Revised Statutes, Title LIX, Chapter 604-B; Code of Virginia,
Title 19.2, Chapter 163.1; and Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 977.02.
b
Information from Improving Criminal Justice Systems Through Expanded Strategies and Innovative Collaborations: Report of the National Symposium on Indigent Defense, Office of Justice
Programs, March 2000, NCJ 181344, Appendices 6 and 7 at
<http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/indigentdefense/icjs.pdf> .
c
Governmental location for budget purposes only.
d
Information on governmental location came from Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 27,  3.
e
Information on governmental location came from the Virginia 2000-2002 Biennial Budget, the
section on the Judicial Department.

of the public defender programs in the
other 10 States reporting this information varied. For example, in Delaware
and Massachusetts the public defender
program was an independent agency
of the State government, while in New
Hampshire and West Virginia the
program was established as an
independent nonprofit organization.
Number of chief public defenders
and term of office
The term chief public defender was
defined differently across defender
programs. Fifteen of the 16 statewide
public defender programs had 1 chief

4 State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999

public defender who had program
oversight (table 4). By contrast,
Minnesota reported 11 chief public
defenders: the State Board of Public
Defense appointed a chief district
public defender for each of 10 judicial
districts. The district public defender
offices handled felony and misdemeanor cases. The State Board of
Public Defense also appointed a State
public defender whose office represented indigent defendants in appeals
and post-conviction proceedings.10
In the three States that did not have a
statewide public defender, a chief
public defender administered each
separate program or defender district.
10

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 611.215
and Chapter 611.23.

Table 4. Characteristics of chief public defenders in State-funded systems, 1999

State
Alaska:
Primary program
Alternate and
conflict program
Colorado
Connecticut
Delawarea
Hawaii
Iowa
Marylandb
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginiac
West Virginia
Wisconsind

Chief public
Number of defender
Years in
chief public has term
term of
defenders of office
office
1

Yes

1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
11
1
1
1
1
11
1
1
20
15
1

No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No

Chief public
defender
elected or
appointed

4
5
4
6
4
4
4
4
5
4
3
4

Chief public
defender
carries a
caseload

Who appoints
chief public defender

Appointed

Governor

Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed
Appointed

Governor
Independent board or commission
Independent board or commission
Governor
Governor
Governor
Board of Trustees
Independent board or commission
Independent board or commission
Independent board or commission
Corporate board of directors
Governor
Governor
Judges
Governor
Governor
Independent board or commission
Independent board or commission
Program advisory board

Salary
of chief
public
defender

--

$80,000

No
No
No
No
No
No
-Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
-Yes
No

91,000
90,590
110,524
88,000
77,964
75,000
-95,760
89,627
100,932
80,000
98,225
83,700
90,224
80,000
62,000
-66,500
101,859

--Information not provided or not known.
a
Information on term of office from Delaware Code, Title 29, Section 4603.
b
All information for Maryland from Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 27, Section 3.
c
All information for Virginia from the Virginia 2000-2002 Biennial Budget, the section on the Judicial Department
and Code of Virginia, Title 19.2, Chapter 10,  163.1-.2.
d
The number of chief public defenders for Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 977.05.

For example, North Carolina reported
11 chief public defenders, Virginia 20,
and West Virginia 15. The chief public
defender had an established term of
office in 11 States and in the primary
program in Alaska. In seven States
and the alternate program in Alaska,
the chief public defender served at the
pleasure of the appointing authority.

In five States (Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island,
and West Virginia) the chief public
defender carried a caseload. In 1999
annual salaries for chief public defenders ranged from $62,000 to $111,000.

11

Prosecutors in State Courts, 1990, BJS
Bulletin, March 1992, NCJ 170092.

The minimum salaries for entry-level
assistant public defenders ranged from
$29,000 to $45,000 among the States
reporting this information (table 5).

Table 5. Annual salary of assistant public defenders
and supervisory attorneys in State-funded systems, 1999

Selection and salary of chief
public defenders
Unlike their chief prosecutor counterparts who are primarily elected, the
chief public defenders were appointed
in all 19 States.11 In eight States the
governor appointed the chief public
defender; in seven States, an independent board or commission made the
appointment; and in the remaining four
States, judges, the program advisoryboard, the board of trustees, or the
corporate board of directors.

Salaries of assistant public defenders

State
Alaska *
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Iowa
Massachusetts
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island
Vermont
West Virginia
Wisconsin

Assistant public
defender at entry-level
Minimum
Maximum
$45,000
35,124
41,612
36,000
35,152
28,600
30,500
31,018
40,965
28,941
38,000
29,500
32,000
37,087

$61,000
45,816
46,808
43,000
44,033
28,600
-42,770
47,873
43,410
42,000
32,500
-93,108

Assistant public
defender with 5 years
experience
Minimum Maximum
$55,000
54,480
54,759
45,401
44,033
42,000
50,232
48,204
47,873
44,834
42,000
39,000
35,000
38,200

$75,000
73,008
66,622
106,565
68,286
42,000
-52,754
83,955
67,253
46,000
42,000
40,000
93,108

Supervisory
attorney
Minimum
Maximum
$63,000
60,528
57,217
-58,718
76,500
-41,020
63,198
47,669
50,000
57,000
55,000
42,829

$86,000
86,376
100,406
88,000
85,466
76,500
-59,254
91,000
71,502
58,000
-78,000
98,850

Note: Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, and
Virginia did not provide salary information.
--Information not provided or not known.
*Salary information for the Alaska Public Defender Agency.

State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999 5

Table 6. State-funded public defender programs, by type of staff, 1999
Number of full-time and part-time staff
State
Alaskaf
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Hawaii
Iowa
Marylandg
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia

Total
staffing
147
380
348
119
132
199
784
190
636
558
127
870
258
200
81
68
334
203

Chief
Assistant
public
public
defenders defendersa
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
11
1
1
1
1
11
1
1
20
15

63
220
124
57
84
108
-108
486
286
52
256
133
118
42
43
170
107

Supervisory
attorneysb
Managersc
19
27
40
1
9
17
-16
30
44
10
33
24
0
4
2
76
15

0
1
4
1
0
0
-0
0
6
2
60
3
0
1
0
3
0

Investigatorsd

Social
workers

14
61
57
12
7
23
-15
47
86
23
220
20
27
7
8
25
3

0
0
26
12
0
0
-6
25
15
0
0
13
0
3
0
0
1

Indigency Support
Paralegals screeners staffe
Other
1
4
2
12
0
0
-0
17
0
0
0
18
0
0
0
0
2

0
0
0
0
0
0
-0
0
0
0
0
14
0
1
0
0
0

48
56
77
23
31
50
-41
20
120
39
300
32
44
22
14
30
60

0
10
17
0
0
0
-3
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
10
0

Note: Information includes full- and part-time staff. Wisconsin did not provide staffing information.
--Information not provided.
a
Any employee of the public defender program licensed to practice law or who has applied for admission
to the bar, and who primarily litigates cases. Excludes attorneys in nonlitigating positions.
b
Attorneys in managerial positions who litigate cases.
c
Attorneys or nonattorneys in primarily managerial positions who do not litigate cases.
d
Includes investigators on contract.
e
Administrative staff, clerical staff, computer personnel, fiscal officers, and training directors.
f
Information is for both the Alaska Public Defender Agency and the Office of Public Advocacy.
g
Information taken from the Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 27 and the Maryland Archives On-line at
<http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/61pubdb.html>.

The minimum salary for an assistant
public defender with 5-years experience ranged from $35,000 to $55,000.
The minimum salary for a supervisory
attorney ranged from $41,000 to
$77,000.

Public defender program staffing
The statewide public defender program
in New Jersey employed the most staff
(870) (table 6). Four States (Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, and New
Jersey) reported 200 or more assistant
public defenders. New Jersey reported

6 State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999

the largest number of investigators
at 220. Eight States (Connecticut,
Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota,
Missouri, New Mexico, Rhode Island,
and West Virginia) indicated employing
social workers. Only New Mexico
and Rhode Island reported having
indigency screeners.

Table 7. Cases received by State-funded public defender programs, 1999
State

Total
e

Number of cases received
Criminala
Juvenileb
Civilc

Otherd

Alaska
Colorado
Connecticut
Delawaref
Hawaiig
Iowa
Massachusetts
Minnesotah
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jerseyf
New Mexicoi
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin

29,983
64,179
56,327
36,290
39,870
61,232
7,143
178,175
73,738
15,552
96,752
53,911
48,375
12,750
12,703
51,375
33,556
124,171

15,853
54,352
50,265
30,460
35,778
48,360
6,200
140,475
68,200
8,812
58,165
-36,839
10,500
10,344
41,019
28,100
82,649

658
5,672
5,947
5,830
3,846
12,872
918
37,700
4,629
1,308
15,000
-1,858
2,230
1,339
10,356
3,855
30,810

1,476
0
115
0
246
0
25
-909
11
16,012
-2,237
20
107
0
1,235
4,235

996
4,155
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
5,421
7,575
-7,441
0
913
0
366
6,477

Total

996,082

726,371

144,828

26,628

33,344

In the 16 States reporting public
defender expenditures and criminal
caseload, the estimated cost per
criminal case was $490.12
Assigned counsel programs
Appointment of private attorneys

Note: Maryland did not provide caseload information. Due to missing
data the breakdown by case types does not sum to the total.
--Information not provided or not known.
a
Includes felony capital, felony noncapital, misdemeanors that carry a jail
sentence, ordinance infraction, appeal, probation and revocation cases.
b
Includes juvenile delinquency, delinquency appeals, juveniles proceeded
against in criminal court, juvenile status offense, and juvenile transfer hearings.
c
Includes mental commitment, State post-conviction or habeas corpus, and
Federal habeas corpus.
d
Includes special proceedings, miscellaneous hearings, Megan's law, child abuse,
child protection, post conviction probation and parole, and withdrawals.
e
Total includes information for both the Alaska Public Defender Agency and the Office of Public
Advocacy. Specific types include information only for the Alaska Public Defender Agency.
f
Total includes conflict cases.
g
Total excludes conflict cases.
h
State post-conviction or habeas corpus cases were included with appeals under criminal cases.
i
Information could not be broken down by case type.

responsibility for handling other types
of cases as well. In 1999 public
Besides handling criminal cases, all the defender programs received over
public defender programs in the 18
726,000 criminal cases, 144,000
juvenile cases, 26,000 civil cases,
States reporting case information had
Public defender program caseload

Table 8. Source of appointment for private attorneys to provide indigent
criminal defense services in State-funded systems, 1999

State
Colorado
Connecticut
Iowa
Maine
Massachusetts
Missouri
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
West Virginia
Wisconsin

and 33,000 other types of cases
(special proceedings, child abuse, child
protection, post-conviction parole and
probation, and withdrawals) (table 7).

Fourteen of the 19 States with
assigned counsel programs in 1999
provided some detailed information
on attorney appointments. Five States
indicated that either judges (Connecticut, Iowa, and West Virginia) or the
assigned counsel program (Colorado
and Massachusetts) appointed the
private attorneys to represent indigent
criminal defendants (table 8).
Eight States reported multiple offices
could make private attorney appointments. For example, in Maine, New
Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon,
Rhode Island, and Vermont, the court
(judges) or the court clerk's office could
assign private attorneys to represent
indigent criminal defendants.
12

This estimated cost per case was calculated
by using the 1999 public defender expenditure
data from table 2, divided by the criminal
caseload from table 7 (excluding Maryland,
Minnesota, and New Mexico from both tables).
The cost-per-case estimate for individual types
of cases can vary greatly, depending on
resources needed. A death penalty case, for
example, would require much more than a
larceny case.

Source of appointment
Court
Court clerk's Public defender Assigned counsel
(judges) office
program
program




























Note: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia did not
provide information on source of private attorney appointments.

State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999 7

Private attorney roster
The assigned counsel programs in
Iowa, Vermont, and West Virginia did
not maintain a roster of attorneys
(table 9). In the 10 States where the
assigned counsel program maintained
a roster of attorneys, 5 (Connecticut,
Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode
Island, and Wisconsin) had formal
Table 9. Private attorney roster
in State-funded assigned counsel
programs, 1999

State
Colorado
Connecticut
Iowa
Maine
Massachusetts
Missouri
New Hampshire
North Carolina*
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
West Virginia
Wisconsin

Private attorney roster
Maintained
Formal
by assigned procedures
counsel
to remove
program
attorneys
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes

No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes

Note: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland,
New Jersey, and Virginia did not provide
roster information.
*North Carolina has appointment lists developed and maintained by a bar committee in
each district.

procedures for removing attorneys
from the roster (table 9).

Assigned counsel private attorney
appointments and caseload

Private attorneys were included on the
assigned counsel programs roster in
various ways. In Missouri the public
defender system maintained the roster
of private bar attorneys. In Maine all
attorneys in the local bar were included
on the roster unless they requested to
be removed; Maine attorneys also
could volunteer for specified types of
cases.

The number of private attorney
appointments ranged from 200 in
Oregon to 4,800 in Massachusetts
(table 10). Taken together, the
assigned counsel programs in the 13
States reporting caseload information
received almost 700,000 cases. About
302,000 criminal cases and 87,000
juvenile cases were received by
assigned counsel programs. An
additional 11,000 cases involved
civil matters.

In seven States private attorneys were
placed on the roster after volunteering
and meeting qualifications (not shown
in a table). Attorneys qualified through
approval by program administrators,
through attending legal seminars or
training each year, or through participating in training prior to representing
clients.

A quarter of the cases received by
assigned counsel programs in North
Carolina and Virginia involved termination of parental rights, abuse and
neglect, guardian ad litem, and
contempt.

Table 10. Private attorney appointments and cases received by assigned
counsel programs in State-funded systems, 1999

State
Colorado
Connecticut
Iowa
Mainee
Massachusetts
Missouri
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Total

Number of
private attorney
appointments Total

Number of cases received
Criminala
Juvenileb Civilc

Otherd

400
250
500
508
4,800
458
-2,050
200
1,413
225
2,492
750
1,400

8,714
903
-19,275
201,034
458
881
116,427
12,961
1,589
573
264,945
25,109
46,881

6,176
832
-11,833
-422
159
67,873
10,926
1,050
447
154,618
15,022
33,060

2,026
60
--17,108
9
262
13,811
361
539
52
39,888
3,338
10,034

512
11
-461
-27
0
4,935
445
-0
0
4,020
1,113

0
0
-6,981
-0
460
29,808
1,229
-74
70,439
2,729
2,674

15,446

699,550

302,418

87,488

11,324

114,394

Note: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey did not provide
appointment and caseload information. Due to missing data, breakdown
by case type does not sum to the total.
--Information not provided or not known.
a
Includes felony capital, felony non-capital, misdemeanors that carry a jail
sentence, ordinance infraction, appeal, probation and revocation cases.
b
Includes juvenile delinquency, delinquency appeals, juveniles proceeded
against in criminal court, juvenile status offense, and juvenile transfer hearings.
c
Includes mental commitment, State post-conviction or habeas corpus,
and Federal habeas corpus.
d
Includes special proceedings, contempt, guardian ad litem, termination
of parental rights, and child abuse and neglect.
e
Maine provided information on the number of vouchers paid to court-appointed
attorneys. In criminal cases one voucher per case was usual; in child protective
cases there could be many vouchers per case.

8 State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999

Contract attorney programs

Table 11. Contract attorney programs in State-funded systems, 1999

Contracts administered
Eleven States reported contract attorney programs (table 11). The number
of contracts for indigent criminal
defense services administered in these
11 States ranged from 1 in Maine to
600 in Iowa. Three States (New
Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont)
indicated administering contracts
awarded to public defenders. Ten
States administered contracts to
individual solo practitioners; 9 States,
law firms which handled both indigent
and private cases; 6 States, nonprofit
organizations; and 3 States, a law firm
or group of private attorneys or law
firms joined solely to provide indigent
representation under the contract.
None of the States responding administered a contract to a bar association.

State
Alaska
Connecticut
Iowa
Maine
Minnesota
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
Oregon
Vermont
Wisconsin

78
304
600
1
27
-120
4
77
48
93

Contracts
awarded to
public
defenders
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
No

Contracts administered
A law firm or
group of attorA law firm neys or firms
handling joined solely
both indi- to provide
Individual gent and contracted
solo practi- private
indigent
Nonprofit
tioners
cases
defense
organization
Yes
Yes
Yes
-Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Yes
Yes
Yes
-No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
-No

No
Yes
Yes
-Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
-No

--Information not provided or not known.

Table 12. Contracts awarded in State-funded systems, 1999

Contract awarding and monitoring
Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire,
Oregon, and Wisconsin reported
competitively bidding for indigent criminal defense services (table 12).
Oregon awarded contracts to handle
the majority of its indigent criminal
cases. In several counties in New
Mexico and Vermont, contracts were
awarded to handle the majority of
indigent criminal cases. Eight States
reported that the State public defender
program handled the majority of
indigent criminal cases and contracts
were only awarded to handle public
defender conflicts. Alaska and Iowa
contracted out cases not handled by
the public defender program.

Number of
contracts
adminstered for
criminal
indigent
defense
services

State
Alaska
Connecticut
Iowa
Mainea
Minnesota
New Hampshire
New Mexicob
North Carolinac
Oregon
Vermontd
Wisconsin

Jurisdiction
competitively bids
for indigent criminal
defense services
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes

Indigent criminal defense contracts are awarded
to handle 
All
Public defender
Types of cases not
or a majority
conflicts,
handled by the
of indigent
including case
public defender or
criminal cases
overload
assigned counsel
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No

No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes

Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No

a

In one county a contract was awarded to handle all criminal and juvenile cases.
In several counties, contracts were awarded to handle the majority of criminal cases.
c
Contracts were awarded for specific case types in special circumstances.
d
In 6 of the 14 counties, contracts were awarded to handle the majority of criminal cases.
b

State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999 9

Table 13. Cases received by contract attorneys in State-funded systems, 1999
Number of cases received by contract attorneys
Criminala
Juvenileb
Civilc
Otherd

State

Total

Connecticut
Mainee
Minnesota
New Hampshire
New Mexicoe
North Carolina
Oregon
Vermont
Wisconsin

7,280
500
22
5,828
21,640
-140,382
4,227
11,989

5,364
-22
3,269
--98,857
2,067
11,989

1,753
-0
709
-3,020
6,835
559
0

163
-0
0
-2,500
2,205
0
0

0
-0
1,850
-0
32,485
1,601
0

Total

191,868

121,568

12,876

4,868

35,936

Note: Iowa did not provide caseload information. Alaska included the
contract attorney caseload with the public defender caseload. Due to
missing data, breakdown by case type does not sum to total.
--Information not provided or not known.
a
Includes felony capital, felony noncapital, misdemeanors that carry a jail
sentence, ordinance infraction, appeal, probation and revocation cases.
b
Includes juvenile delinquency, delinquency appeals, juveniles proceeded
against in criminal court, juvenile status offense, and juvenile transfer hearings.
c
Includes mental commitment, State post-conviction or habeas corpus,
and Federal habeas corpus.
d
Includes contempt, termination of parental rights, dependency and reviews,
and psychiatric security review board hearings.
e
Maine and New Mexico could not breakdown the caseload by case type.

Contract attorney program caseload

Survey response

In the 9 States reporting contract attorney caseload information, the number
of cases received by contract attorneys
ranged from over 140,000 in Oregon to
22 in Minnesota (table 13). In these 9
States, contract attorneys handled
about 192,000 cases. Contract attorneys handled about 122,000 criminal
cases, 13,000 juvenile cases, and
5,000 civil cases.

Of the 26 program surveys mailed to
the various state agencies within the 21
States, 25 were completed. No information was received from Maryland's
State Public Defender Program or the
assigned counsel program. In Alaska
two program surveys were mailed, one
to the primary public defender program
and one to the alternate public
defender program (Office of Public
Advocacy). In Colorado, New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Virginia
one program survey was mailed to the
public defender program and one to
the assigned counsel program. In the
remaining 16 States, one program
survey was mailed to the appropriate
State agency or program.

Methodology
Respondent selection
In 1999 State governments provided
virtually all of the funding for indigent
criminal defense services in 21 States.
All 21 States were selected to receive
program questionnaires as part of the
the National Survey of Indigent
Defense Systems (NSIDS). The data
collection for NSIDS was conducted by
the National Opinion Research Center.
The program questionnaire is available
at the BJS website
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/
pdf/nsids99_p.pdf>

All the information presented in the text
and tables of this report came from the
data gathered from the program
surveys unless otherwise noted.

10 State-Funded Indigent Defense Services, 1999

The Bureau of Justice Statistics
is the statistical agency of the
U.S. Department of Justice.
Lawrence A. Greenfeld is the
acting director.
BJS Special Reports address a
specific topic in depth from one or
more data sets that cover many
topics.
Carol J. DeFrances wrote this
report. At BJS Keonna Feaster
provided statistical review; Marika
F.X. Litras and Lyndon Diaz assisted
with the construction of the maps;
and Steven K. Smith provided
overall guidance for the project.
Data collection was performed by
the National Opinion Research
Center (NORC); Natalie Suter was
the project director. At NORC,
project staff included Rachel Harter,
Angela Herrmann, Irv Horwitz,
Kymm Kochanek, Jayan Moolayil,
Gloria Rauens, Joanna Small, Hee
Choon Shin, Charles Taragon, and
Crystal Williams.
September 2001, NCJ 188464
This report in portable document
format and in ASCII, its tables, and
related statistical data are available
at the BJS website:
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/

 

 

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