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

In 1972, Vermont created the Office of the Defender General. The Defender General is a direct gubernatorial appointee who oversees primary and conflict indigent defense services related to criminal matters, as well as juvenile delinquency and dependency cases. The central office in Montpelier houses an administrative office, the state appellate defender, a juvenile unit, and a prisoners’ rights unit.


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

The state Office of the Defender General provides trial-level services through a combination of full-time public defender offices and contracts with private law firms. Vermont has 14 counties, eight of which (Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Franklin & Grand Isle sharing an office, Lamoille, Rutland, and Windham) are served by seven public defender offices ranging in size from a single attorney up to 12 full-time attorneys. ODG contracts with one law firm each for the six remaining counties each to provide indigent representation, though the law firm in Addison County handles only juvenile cases.


When any one of these counties needs relief from caseload, the Office of the Defender General has contracts with three “caseload relief” attorneys to provide representation. For conflicts, the Office of the Defender General contracts with a private attorney to manage an assigned counsel system. The managing attorney appoints private attorneys, who are paid hourly, to conflict cases based on the type of case (felony, misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency and dependency, appeals, and post-conviction).

Legal authority

Vermont Constitution, art. 10th

Vermont Statutes Annotated, tit. 13, §§ 5201 through 5277

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