What Are Some of the Responsibilities of a Public Defender?


Quick Answer

The responsibilities of a public defender include representing clients during criminal investigations, which include monitoring evidence gathering, attending police-line ups, attending bail hearings and trial representation, as the Houston Chronicle reports. Public defenders interview witnesses and gather information and facts to help formulate the defense of their clients.

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Full Answer

The U.S. Constitution affirms that the government must provide attorneys for indigent defendants who are accused of crimes, according to the Houston Chronicle. If a person cannot afford an attorney, the court appoints a government-employed lawyer to represent the defendant, and that attorney handles all the tasks necessary for that person's defense. Public defenders may work with their client during the initial stages of an investigation to prepare for the client's trial by participating in evidence gathering in addition to drafting motions and other paperwork as well as attending jury selection.

Public defenders work with their clients and have an obligation to establish a professional relationship, as the Houston Chronicle notes. They must communicate with their clients on a regular basis through in-person meetings, phone calls and written correspondence. If their clients are incarcerated, public defenders visit them at correctional facilities to discuss the case. All communication between public defender and their clients must remain private, and public defenders must uphold all the ethical duties of confidentiality and loyalty to their clients throughout the entire time they represent them.

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