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New Jersey Office of the Public Defender

Legal Services · Trenton, New Jersey

The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (NJOPD) is the country's premiere statewide legal services organization, providi ... ng criminal defense and other services to indigent residents in New Jersey. The first centralized system of its kind in the United States, the NJOPD was founded on July 1, 1967 to fulfill the traditional role of providing legal counsel to indigent defendants charged with indictable offenses. The NJOPD has served for more than five decades as a model for the delivery of public defense services, and continues to be contacted today by states considering switching to a statewide system. In its criminal-defense function, the NJOPD not only provides legal counsel at the Superior Court trial level in each of the state's 21 counties, but also handles appeals and other ancillary legal proceedings. The NJOPD provides attorneys for indigent criminal defendants in both the adult and juvenile levels of Superior Court. Its attorneys are assigned to 22 regional Public Defender offices. In addition to providing attorneys to represent individuals in criminal cases, the NJOPD, through the Office of Law Guardian (OLG) and Office of Parental Representation (OPR), provides attorneys to represent children and parents in abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights cases. The NJOPD's Division of Mental Health Advocacy (MHA) provides constitutionally mandated representation for indigent clients at voluntary and involuntary psychiatric commitment hearings. NJOPD also represents individuals who have been convicted of sex offenses and are facing Megan’s Law tier classification (Special Hearings Unit), individuals seeking post-conviction relief (Conviction Integrity Unit), and clients in other areas including Drug Court and Intensive Supervision Program matters. For a listing of all regional offices, please visit read more

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