The Public Defender office is the primary provider of court-appointed legal services to indigent persons facing criminal charges or other potential deprivation of civil rights. Generally speaking, whenever a person faces the forcible deprivation of liberty, that person is entitled to representation. If the person is indigent, the County or State must provide representation. Accordingly, the Public Defender is appointed by the Superior Court to represent persons, adult or juvenile, charged with crimes. Furthermore, the Superior Court appoints the Public Defender to represent persons who are deprived of liberty and property because they are alleged to be gravely disabled, who are the subject of extraordinary writ action before the Superior Court where the deprivation of civil liberties is alleged to be improper or illegal.
Authorization for the Office of the Public Defender is set forth in Government Code Sections 27700 et seq.
The mission of the Public Defender is to provide aggressive, competent, ethical representation to indigent persons facing deprivation of liberty or other civil rights in a cost effective way. The Public Defender offices are charged with providing services to persons entitled to representation as determined by the Superior Court. In performing those services, the Public Defender will provide to the community the office serves, information, representation, and respect while meeting the needs of the Superior Court and County of Humboldt.
There are 3 separate Public Defenders offices in Humboldt County.