A lawyer employed at public expense in a criminal trial to represent a defendant who is unable to afford legal assistance.
- ‘The public defenders representing Workman at trial told him his guilt was a foregone conclusion.’
- ‘A parole petition had to be agreed upon by the public defender, district attorney's office, and the presiding judge.’
- ‘Texas has no public defenders at all; defendants must rely on court-appointed lawyers who are given few resources with which to mount a defense.’
- ‘And most are defended not by private attorneys but by public defenders or appointed lawyers.’
- ‘Judges also often assign public defenders who have no experience in death penalty cases, such as tax lawyers.’