All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
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How the right to counsel is administered and structured

State commission: yes
Branch of government: executive

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) is a statewide, state-funded agency in the executive branch. DPA is overseen by an independent 12-member Public Advocacy Commission appointed by diverse authorities: Governor (7 appointments: 3 lawyers recommended by Kentucky Bar Association; one child advocate; 1 recommended by DPA’s Protection & Advocacy Division; and 2 others); Kentucky Supreme Court (2 appointments); dean of each law school in Kentucky (3 appointments total). The Commission appoints the state public advocate who, in turn, is responsible for executing the Commission’s policy directives including the proper administration of right to counsel services across the state.

Jefferson County’s indigent defense system — the Louisville – Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation — operates outside of, but in cooperation with, the statewide system. Having been in existence long before the creation of the Department of Public Advocacy, Jefferson County opted to retain its existing system, rather than join the state system. Jefferson County must nonetheless comply with DPA standards in providing the right to counsel.


How the right to counsel is funded

Percentage of state funding: 95%
Percentage of local funding: 5%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%

Funding for the Jefferson County system comes from a combination of county and state dollars. The state fully funds the right to counsel in all other counties.

The methods used to provide public counsel

The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (DPA) oversees 32 branch offices. The chief attorneys are responsible for direct client representation by full-time public defender staff and by local panels of private attorneys handling individual case assignments in conflict matters.

In Jefferson County, the nonprofit public defender office, Louisville- Jefferson County Public Defender Corporation, provides direct representation in all right to counsel matters in the county’s criminal and juvenile courts. The Louisville nonprofit also subcontracts with private counsel to represent clients in cases of conflict.


Legal authority

Kentucky Constitution, § 11

Kentucky Revised Statutes, §§ 31.010 through 31.241

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff, augmented by the Department of Public Advocacy, Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Litigation Report, September 2013.