Public Defender

Office of the Chautauqua County Public Defender

The Chautauqua County Public Defender’s Office represents individuals who are unable to afford an attorney. Our mission is to promote the fundamental rights of every person to equal justice under law.

Our Mandate and Responsibilities

 To comply with Federal and State constitutions:

  • Provide quality legal representation to our clients;
  • Advocates for the protection of the constitutional rights of our clients.

Eligibility 

In order to qualify for services, clients must fill out a Financial Affidavit and return it by mail or in person at one of our interview site locations. After the application is reviewed, a determination of eligibility will be made. Eligibility is based upon many factors such as income expenses and the individual’s financial ability to hire an attorney. The financial affidavit should be thoroughly completed to provide a clear picture of your financial circumstance.

Attorneys 

Public defender attorneys are highly skilled and dedicated. They are prepared to proceed to trial with their clients’ cases. In situations where a trial is ill-advised, they work hard to achieve the best plea bargain for their clients. In many cases, they help clients address the underlying cause that brought them to the point of arrest by recommending drug/alcohol treatment programs, mental health programs, and alternatives to incarceration.

Support Staff 

The support staff of the Public Defender’s Office assists the attorneys in preparation of the client’s case for court. They assist the client to ensure they are informed of the progress of the case and its status. They may answer some questions the client may have, but cannot give legal advice.

Change of Address/Phone 

Clients that have a change of address or phone number should please email, call, mail, or contact our office in some way. We cannot proceed to represent you if we do not have the ability to contact you.