Defender Services Office

By statute, PDS is required to provide technical assistance to the Superior Court in administering the Criminal Justice Act. The Defender Services Office (DSO) executes this function by determining the eligibility for court-appointed counsel of almost every arrested child and adult and by coordinating the availability of CJA attorneys, law school students, pro bono attorneys, and PDS attorneys six days a week (Monday through Saturday), including holidays. The eligibility determination process entails conducting financial interviews and asset checks on a daily basis, servicing a daily call-in line for appointments, and finding appropriate counsel when an insufficient number of attorneys call in to receive cases.

Because the court appoints defense counsel prior to an arrestee’s initial court appearance, the work of DSO is vital to the overall functioning of the Superior Court’s criminal charging process. In addition, the office provides assistance to lawyers and the public by notifying attorneys of their clients’ re-arrest and parole matters; providing logistical information to adult defendants, juvenile respondents, and their families; and responding to general inquiries about court operations.