Public Defender

Functions, Goals & Accomplishments


Pursuant to the US and NY Constitutions and statutory mandate, the Public Defender’s office provides legal representation to those individuals who cannot afford an attorney and are:

  • Charged with petty offenses, misdemeanors and felonys in the criminal courts of Genesee County,
  • Appealing criminal convictions,
  • Accused of violating their conditions of probation or parole supervision,
  • Accused of being a fugitive from justice,
  • Summoned to a criminal court to determine a sex offender risk level,
  • Parties in proceedings before the Genesee County Family Court involving issues of parental rights or the loss of liberty and
  • Juveniles petitioned to the Genesee County Family Court with regard to allegations of juvenile delinquency or being a “person in need of supervision”.

The office benefits our clients, the criminal courts and Family Court and the community as a whole by:

  • Safeguarding and protecting the rights of clients by guaranteeing that the right of counsel is meaningfully provided by professional and effective attorneys and support staff, dedicated to protecting their rights and the integrity of the legal system and,
  • Identifying collateral needs of the client, such as mental illness, substance abuse and housing, making referrals for treatment and other needed resources to help them avoid needless recidivism and reduce the need for incarceration.


The mission of the Public Defender’s office is:

  • To provide the best possible representation to each client,
  • To guarantee the protection of our client's rights,
  • To provide effective supervision and training for the staff,
  • To focus on alternatives to incarceration, both pretrial and dispositional, with a particular emphasis on treatment alternatives,
  • To explore better methods for the system as a whole to identify low risk offenders (both current risk to the community and risk of recidivism) who would be appropriate for alternatives to incarceration. This effort is formalized through our participation on Criminal Justice Advisory Council subcommittees and,
  • To advocate for system approaches and dispositions that seek to address the root causes of crime on an individual basis and reduce recidivism, such as continued use of our County’s Treatment Court, which helps clients with addictions and mental illness


The office has actively participated in ongoing systemic dialogue with other components of the state, regional and local criminal justice system and actively engages with:

  • The New York State Defenders Association,
  • The Chief Defender Association of New York,
  • The Genesee County Criminal Justice Advisory Council,
  • The Genesee County Magistrates and Clerks Association and,
  • The New York Office of Indigent Legal Services.