Mission, Vision, and Values

"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to attack our civilization."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt


To protect the rights of indigent persons throughout Ohio by providing quality representation and leadership in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.


The Office of the Ohio Public Defender will be a nationally recognized leader in indigent defense, that provides superior representation and advocacy, while affirming the dignity of our clients, and operating with fiscal and professional integrity.


The basis for the existence and work of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender is the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gideon v. Wainwright:
[R]eason and reflection, require us to recognize that, in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth. Governments, both state and federal, quite properly spend vast sums of money to establish machinery to try defendants accused of crime. Lawyers to prosecute are everywhere deemed essential to protect the public's interest in an orderly society. Similarly, there are few defendants charged with crime, few indeed, who fail to hire the best lawyers they can get to prepare and present their defenses. That government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to defend are the strongest indications of the widespread belief that lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries. 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 seeks to guarantee a fair trial for every person, regardless of their economic means.  Every day, through our work, we strive to ensure that promise is upheld in the State of Ohio.  In doing so, we pledge that we will be guided by these values:
    Compassion: We will be mindful of the conditions and experiences that shape those who come to us for help.
    Dignity: We will treat every person with respect.
    Equity: Our work and our office will be free from bias or favoritism.
    Integrity: We will act with sound moral character and a dedication to professional and ethical principles.
    Service: We will dedicate ourselves to protecting the rights of indigent individuals, and in doing so will protect the rights afforded to all citizens by the Constitution.