Counties may create a public defender office, employing full time attorneys to accept cases where the person who is charged is unable to pay for his or her own lawyer. County Public Defender Offices are run by a director and overseen by the County Public Defender Commission. These Commissioners are appointed by the Common Pleas Court and the Board of County Commissioners within the county.
County Public Defender Offices do not handle all cases within a county. Some cases, due to conflicts or caseloads, will be handled by appointed counsel. In cases where a conflict exists or the workload prevents accepting more cases, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the individual.