Public Safety and Corrections
Office of the State Public Defender
Diane M. Lozano
The Office of the State Public Defender fulfills the constitutional right to counsel for indigent defendants pursuant to the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution, Art. 1 §10 of the Wyoming Constitution, W.S. §7-6-101, et al. and Rule 44 of the Wyoming Rules of Criminal Procedure; and the Office provides guardian ad litem attorneys for children pursuant to W.S. §14-12-101, et al.
Agency Background and Structure
The Office of the State Public Defender was created in 1978 in order to meet the federally mandated right to counsel for poor criminal defendants. The Public Defender has 13 trial field offices and one appellate office. The Public Defender provides representation to over 90% of all criminal defendants who are charged with misdemeanors, felonies, and juvenile delinquencies, which carry potential incarceration, including the appeals from those convictions. The Public Defender handles capital murder cases as well. In 2008, the legislature placed the Guardian ad Litem program (GAL) into the Office by way of session law and a budget footnote. The GAL represents children in abuse and neglect cases, CHINS, and juvenile delinquencies. The GAL has memorandums of understanding to provide services to children in 22 of the 23 counties.