"From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him."
Gideon v. Wainwright
Created in 1976 by Chapter 120 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Office of the Ohio Public Defender (OPD) is the state agency responsible for providing legal representation and other services to people accused or convicted of a crime who cannot afford to hire an attorney. The office, which is overseen by the Ohio Public Defender Commission, is divided into Administrative, Appellate Services, Policy & Outreach, and Trial Services divisions.
OPD provides representation on appeals and post-conviction actions in death penalty, criminal, and juvenile delinquency cases; at trial when requested by local courts and in counties that contract with OPD for trial services; and at parole revocation hearings for the more than 50,000 people in Ohio’s prisons. The agency provides technical assistance, research services, educational programs, and investigation and mitigation services to local public defenders and court-appointed counsel across Ohio. OPD also reimburses counties for a portion of the cost of running local indigent defense systems, and enforces standards established by the OPD Commission.
State Public Defender Tim Young and the Ohio Public Defender Commission are fully committed to improving Ohio’s indigent defense system. Working with local public defenders, courts, and county commissioners, as well as state leaders and organizations, OPD strives to change laws, rules, and practices in order to create a more effective and efficient indigent defense delivery system. The quality of justice a person receives should not be determined by that person’s financial status.