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INSTRUCTIONS FOR PUBLIC DEFENDERAPPLICANTS
(18 years of age and older)
1. The application must be completely filled out. It can not be mailed or faxed into the office unless it is from a prison or a detention facility.
2. The applications will only be accepted between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Public Defender’s Office
3. If you are incarcerated, you MUST provide your homeaddress, not the prison.
4. The application MUST be signed where indicated. Yourapplication will not be accepted unless it is completed and signed.
5. An applicant is eligible for Public Defenderrepresentation if, and only if, he or she is indigent and as a result, cannotafford to hire an attorney to represent him or her. Indigency is determined bya number of factors, including, but not limited to, income, assets andliabilities, nature of charges, and federal poverty guidelines.
6. As part of the application process, all applicants shall be required to submit the following information:
* Driver’s License or Photo Identification
* Criminal Complaint and Affidavit
* Prior years Federal Income Tax Return
* Pay stubs for last three weeks
* Current social security or unemploymentstatements
* Current welfare statements (food stamp orcash assistance)
* Property tax for any and all property owned
* Balance of mortgage on property
* Car payment bill
* If married, Federal Income tax for spouse
* Letter stating financial support for thosestating no income and a copy of the photo ID from the person providingfinancial support
* Current financial information as requested
*If financial information cannot be provided,you must provide a reason for your inability to provide this information.
7. Noapplication for Public Defender shall be approved unless and until therequested financial information is provided.
8. The Public Defender shall re-examine eligibility asdeemed necessary.
9. If there are any changes in your financialcircumstances, you are obligated to notify the Public Defender’s Officeimmediately. Failure to do so can result in termination of Public Defenderrepresentation.
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There are currently 29 attorneys in the Office of the Public Defender. The attorneys have a wealth of legal experience, training and knowledge as more than half of our staff attorneys have fifteen to forty years of legal experience. In addition to their professional law school doctorate, master’s level and/or bachelor level college degrees, licensures and years of experience, the staff attorneys are committed to attending continuing legal education training seminars by such entities as: the nationally-recognized Gideon’s Promise, the Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Public Defender’s Association of Pennsylvania, the Juvenile Defender’s Association of Pennsylvania and the National Juvenile Defender Center, to ensure they have the most up-to-date legal knowledge available in the defense community.
Please call our main office line at 1 (570) 825-1754, stop by our office in person, or email or write to us.
In accordance with the Pennsylvania Public Defender Act, we will provide legal counsel for critical pretrial identification procedures and also for police questioning. We also attend preliminary arraignments at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. If you are facing the possibility of criminal charges, it is imperative that you contact our office as soon as possible.
Otherwise, as soon as you receive criminal charges, you should apply to our office immediately without delay so we can start working on your case.
A Public Defender will represent you at all stages of criminal, juvenile delinquency, state parole and mental health involuntary commitments proceedings, protect your legal rights, zealously advocate for you and work diligently to help you with your case.
Nothing. We provide free legal services to qualifying applicants. Thus, you must apply to our Office to be deemed eligible for services. All juvenile clients qualify for representation, regardless of parental income.
You will have a Public Defender until the completion of your case or until you are sentenced and for the appeal of any trial or sentencing issues. After you are sentenced and if a probation or parole violation is alleged against you, you must contact our office and you must apply for re-eligibility for services. Please do not delay in contacting our office if this happens to you.
Don’t worry. We contact you. The JDU receives acopy of every Juvenile Written Allegation approved by the District Attorney’s Officefor prosecution. A juvenile defense attorney is automatically assigned to thecase and a confidential office interview is scheduled in our welcomingconference room or if the juvenile is detained, the interview takes place withthe juvenile in custody. The same attorney stays with the client throughout thelife of the case, including the receipt of additional or new charges. Theclient is however always free to hire private legal counsel at any time.
No. The JDU staff handles APPEALS of summary offenseconvictions from a Magisterial District Court for all juveniles, ages 10 to 17.Thus, if you are unhappy with your result in DJ Court, please contact us tofile an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas for a re-hearing for you, whichmust be FILED within 30 days of conviction. Thus, please don’t delay incontacting us.
You automatically qualify for an attorney. For criminalcharges directly filed in adult Criminal Court against a juvenile, ages 15 to17 at time of the offense, please come directly to our office or if in custody,your application will be taken by our staff. You will be assigned twoattorneys: one specializing in juveniledefense and one focusing on defense in the criminal system.
The JDU’s professional team comprises experienced full-time attorneys,social workers, support staff and investigators, exclusively trained in meetingthe particularized needs of developing adolescents.
Once the application with the required paperwork is submitted, it would take 48 hours for the approval process.