Rhode Island

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: none
Branch of government: executive

The governor appoints the chief public defender of the Rhode Island Public Defender, which is a statewide executive branch agency responsible for providing right to counsel services throughout the state.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court administers a panel of private attorneys to be appointed in conflict cases.


How the right to counsel is funded

Percentage of state funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%

The methods used to provide public counsel

Rhode Island is home to the nation’s first-ever statewide, state-funded public defender office, established in 1941. The Rhode Island Public Defender remains to this day as the state’s primary system for providing right to counsel services. Being a geographically small state, the agency has but five satellite offices located across the state.

Conflict representation is provided by a panel of private attorneys, who are paid hourly on a per-case basis and administered by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.


Legal authority

Rhode Island Constitution, art. I, § 10

Rhode Island General Laws, §§ 12-15-1 through 12-15-11

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.