The Office of the State Public Defender
The function of the Office of the State Public Defender is to represent persons accused of misdemeanors, felonies and probation violations in circuit and district courts who cannot afford to hire an attorney. The agency represents juveniles accused of delinquency in juvenile court and individuals on appeal in the Wyoming Supreme Court. Additional functions include representing individuals who are to be extradited to other states and individuals seeking post-conviction relief.
The Public Defender represents a vast majority (86% in FY14) of all criminal defendants who seek counsel. Because of this, the Public Defender has the experience and the ability to resolve a large majority of those cases through fair plea negotiations, which conserves the resources of the criminal justice system and the State of Wyoming. The agency's experience ensures zealous representation for clients who choose to go to trial and at all other stages of the criminal case.
The Public Defender is a reactionary agency; once a person has been cited or charged with a crime, the courts determine whether a person's financial circumstances require the appointment of the Public Defender. Once appointed, the agency must provide representation.
Guardian ad Litem
The function of the Guardian ad Litem program is to provide legal services as guardians ad litem in child protection cases, in termination of parental rights cases that stem from a child protection case, delinquency and child in need of supervision (CHINS) cases in which the child does not have a parent or guardian who can appear on the child's behalf, and in appeals.