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Answering Gideon’s Call for Six Decades

Colorado State Public Defenders

“The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours.”
Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 US 335 (1963).

Created in the wake of the 1963 US Supreme Court ruling in Gideon, the Colorado State Public Defender system has a long history of providing excellent representation to persons accused in criminal cases when they cannot afford to hire counsel.

Created by the Colorado General Assembly in 1970, the Office of the State Public Defender (OSPD) is a model of independent and reliable statewide defense service delivery. Clients charged with crimes in courtrooms throughout the state will get quality representation regardless of where they are accused. OSPD staffs 21 regional trial offices, serving clients in each of the 22 judicial districts and the 64 Colorado counties. A central appellate division represents clients on appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court.

Through the central office, OSPD provides leadership, guidance and quality training to ensure that each and every defender remains mission driven and upholds the necessary standards of legal representation.

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Applying for a Public Defender

Apply for a public defender in Colorado with our step-by-step guide. Learn about eligibility criteria, required documentation, office locations, and alternatives if you don’t qualify. Get legal assistance for criminal charges when you can’t afford a lawyer.

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Become a Public Defender

The Colorado Public Defender offers a unique, collaborative and supportive environment where you can work alongside other committed and inspired Defenders. Colorado Public Defenders are a part of a team of over a thousand professionals working in twenty-three different offices fighting to protect the rights, liberties, and dignity of our clients.

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Commitment to Excellence

The Mission of the Colorado Office of the State Public Defender is to defend and protect the rights, liberties, and dignity of those accused of crimes who cannot afford to retain counsel. We do this by providing constitutionally and statutorily mandated representation that is effective, zealous, inspired and compassionate.

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Find Your Local Office

The Colorado State Public Defender has twenty-one trial offices, an appellate office and a central administrative office.

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