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The Indiana Public Defender Council is a judicial branch state agency created in 1977 by IC 33-40-4.
The membership of the Council consists of all public defenders, contractual pauper counsel, and attorneys regularly appointed to represent indigent defendants pursuant to a uniform system of periodic appointments or who are on the list of attorneys maintained by the Public Defender Commission who are qualified and willing to be appointed in a capital case. There are approximately 1100 Indiana attorneys who are members of the Council.
The Council is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors.
The statutory duties of the Council are:
- assist in the coordination of the duties of the attorneys engaged in the defense of indigents at public expense;
- prepare manuals of procedure;
- assist in the preparation of trial briefs, forms, and instructions;
- conduct research and studies of interest or value to all such attorneys; and
- maintain liaison contact with study commissions, organizations, and agencies of all branches of local, state, and federal government that will benefit criminal defense as part of the fair administration of justice in Indiana.
The Council does not provide legal representation to clients or legally advise the public.
Representation at trial or on direct appeal is provided by each county at county expense. Representation in post-conviction proceedings is provided by the Public Defender of Indiana.