“Public defender” is the title given to a lawyer who represents an individual who is battling a criminal court case but simply doesn’t have the income to afford a lawyer on their own. Public defenders are assigned by the court to help these individuals. All criminal cases are eligible for public defense, although you are, of course, not required to work with this court appointed attorney.
The answer to this is a resounding yes. Public defenders are full attorneys—they have all graduated from law schools and are very familiar with criminal defense in Wyoming. Also, records show that over 80 per cent of all criminal cases in Wyoming were handled by public attorneys between 2004 and 2007, and in 2007, public defenders represented clients in over 13,000 cases. This means that all public defenders have logged hours of actual court room experience and know how to handle judges, juries, and witnesses.
A public defender, in short, will do everything any other lawyer would do except hand you a bill at the end of your trial. Public defenders advise you on your legal rights, represent you in court and in any hearings or meetings, and argue your case to the judge or the jury. In short, there’s no difference between working with a court appointed public defender and a full attorney. One thing to note, however, is that you often have no choice in who your public defender is, while you can always decide which attorney to hire.
If you need a public defender for your criminal defense in Wyoming, you can ask for one through the court system. You’ll need to provide evidence that you can’t afford an attorney on your own first. Usually, this is done by providing a few months’ worth of pay stubs, copies of bills, and copies of your bank statements and any other documents that show your financial resources. The court will evaluate these documents and decide if you qualify for a public defender.
You can also contact the public defender’s office directly. In Wyoming, there are fifteen different public defender offices across the state, each serving a county. You can find information about each of these offices by calling either the Wyoming Bar Association or the Office of the State Public Defender. You can also find information on the State Public Defender’s website at wyodefender.state.wy.us.