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Ohio Public Defender News

Press Releases and Other Information from the Office of the Ohio Public Defender

Upcoming Workshop: "Working with Clients with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disability"

On June 21 and June 23, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender is co-sponsoring a workshop entitled "Working with Clients with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disability." This one-day course is free of charge and is offered by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence. The program is funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The course is designed to provide tools, material, and knowledge to lawyers to better represent clients with mental illness or intellectual disabilities.


The course is open to public defenders and assigned counsel in counties that have passed a "Stepping Up" resolution. More details on the "Stepping Up" initiative here. For more information about the program, read the invitation here. Click here to register for the June 21 session, and click here to register for the June 23 session.

50th Anniversary of In re Gault: Proposed Juvenile Rule Change

May 15th, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1. In conjunction with this celebration, the Children’s Law Center, ACLU of Ohio, and Ohio Public Defender are requesting an amendment to Ohio Juvenile Rule of Procedure 3 to strengthen a child’s right to counsel. Read more about the proposed amendment, the amendment itself, a letter of support for the amendment from the National Juvenile Defender Center, and some statistics on the problem this rule aims to fix. Read on to learn more about the Gault decision.

13th Annual Ohio Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit

For 13 years, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender and Children’s Law Center have partnered to bring Ohio’s juvenile defense bar together and work toward achieving the best outcomes for the children in Ohio’s juvenile justice system. This year, for the 13th annual summit, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision In re Gault and the 10th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Ohio's In re C.S., which strengthened the right to counsel for Ohio’s youth. 

OPD Supporting National Guilty Plea Campaign

Of the 337 people who have been exonerated by DNA nationwide, nearly 10 percent had pleaded guilty to crimes they didn’t commit.

OPD and our Wrongful Conviction Project are participating in a national effort to raise awareness of this phenomenon, and to take the first steps in fixing the problem, the Guilty Plea Campaign. Follow OPD on Facebook and Twitter, and the Wrongful Conviction Project on Twitter to learn more about the Campaign.

Announcing: The Criminalizing Poverty Homepage

In the past few years, our nation has become increasingly aware of the phenomenon known as the "criminalization of poverty." When facing criminal charges, indigent defendants can be held in jail simply because they cannot pay for their freedom. Poor defendants can subsequently feel coerced into pleading guilty as a way to restore their freedom as quickly as possible. Ultimately, indigent defendants can be forced to pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in court costs and fees, thus perpetuating—and deepening—their financial straits. To help address this problem, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender has launched the Criminalizing Poverty Homepage.

Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit Replay Now Available

The Office of the Ohio Public Defender and the Children's Law Center co-hosted the 12th Annual Ohio Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit this past September. The demand for training exceeded the number of available seats; therefore, a video replay will be available on Monday, Dec. 12, at the Ohio Department of Transportation Auditorium at 1980 W. Broad Street, in Columbus. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the program will run from 9:30 until 4:30 p.m. For more information, see the training opportunities resource on the Policy & Outreach page.

Office of the Ohio Public Defender - New Website

Welcome to the Office of the Ohio Public Defender’s new website! Our old website served its purpose well for some time, but did not fully reflect the true nature of our agency’s work and commitment to our mission. And while it contained a wealth of information, it lacked the cohesive and organized structure it once had. So we decided to renovate our website to better demonstrate our commitment to serving our clients and improving indigent defense; enhancing the user experience; and ensuring that the website’s content is organized and accessible.