Legal Department

"Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong."

Theodore Roosevelt

Our Vision

Because our clients are why we are public defenders, we will strive to provide them with innovative, superior representation, and we will assist practitioners throughout Ohio to do the same for their clients. While remaining focused on achieving the best possible outcomes and advocating with professional integrity, we will ensure that our clients are heard, and that they are always treated with respect and compassion.

About the Legal Department

The Legal Department provides representation in non-capital, post-trial cases. The department consists of two sections: Appeals and Post-conviction, and Intake/Prison Legal Services.

Appeals and Post-conviction Section

The Appeals and Post-conviction Section typically represents clients who have already finished their trials, and who were previously represented by county public defenders or appointed counsel. Assistant public defenders review claims of unlawful imprisonment that have passed through the Intake Section, and determine whether those claims have arguable merit.
If a claim lacks merit, the attorney explains to the client why his or her claim has no merit. If a claim has arguable merit, the attorney uses state-of-the-art research tools, and, when appropriate, develops materials outside the trial record of the case. Then, with the assistance of support staff, the attorney litigates the claim in the appropriate courts.
There are more than 50,000 people in prison in Ohio. This section, despite facing considerable challenges in meeting the needs of persons requesting assistance, provides exceptional legal representation with the resources available.

Intake/Prison Legal Services Section

The Intake/Prison Legal Services Section screens claims of unlawful imprisonment. Attorneys in this section also provide orientation for new prisoners, giving them a legal packet that contains sentence and release information, addresses areas of greatest concern to inmates, and gives an overview of the services provided by OPD. This section also represents inmates at hearings of the full parole board, and at parole revocation hearings for parolees who are charged with violating some condition(s) of their parole.