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“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” - U.S. Constitution, Amendment VI – December 15, 1791
Cochise County Indigent Defense Offices – Who We Are
The Cochise County Public Defender, Legal Defender, and Office of Legal Advocate have collectively been assisting and defending the Accused in Cochise County for well over twenty years.
The three separate office model was created in order to assist the Cochise County community in order to provide full representation of those individuals needing and qualifying for appointed assistance of counsel, in the most efficient way.
Having three separate offices to serve the needs of the indigent accused alleviates most conflicts of interest with representing co-defendants and victims in other cases and enables attorneys to manage a high-volume caseload by sharing an even distribution of complicated cases between the three offices.
Attorneys from the Cochise County Public Defender, Cochise County Legal Defender, and Cochise County Office of Legal Advocate are appointed by the Court to represent indigent persons in need of representation for a wide array of services, including criminal charges, probation matters, juvenile delinquency and dependency matters, as well as mental health commitments, extradition cases, criminal appeals, and post-conviction relief.
It is the mission of the Cochise County Indigent Defense offices to provide effective, high quality, and competent representation for the people we represent here in Cochise County.
Our Attorneys and Administrative Staff are well trained, competent, and committed to respecting the humanity and dignity of our clients and protecting their rights while advocating for the best possible resolution of a case at every step of the proceedings.
Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities
Contact with Law Enforcement
- You have the Right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that Right, say so politely and verbally to Law Enforcement, but then actually remain silent.
- You have the Responsibility to stay calm, be polite, don’t panic, don’t lie, or present false information. When you are courteous, any encounter will be less stressful for you as well as the person with the ability to arrest you and take you to jail.
- You have the Right to refuse your consent of any search of your person, vehicle, or home. If you wish to exercise this Right, say so verbally to Law Enforcement.
- You have the Responsibility to not interfere or obstruct Law Enforcement. If you have not consented to a search, and one is conducted anyway, do not attempt to block or stop them from searching. Your lawyer will sort out the details after the fact; don’t pick up additional charges.
If You are Arrested
- You have the Right to remain silent and should exercise that Right.
- You have the Responsibility to not resist that arrest
- You have the Right to an attorney
- You have the Responsibility to calmly advise Law Enforcement when you exercise any Right
- You have the Right to not sign any statements or make verbal statements to the police without an attorney present.
- Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have Constitutional Rights
Resources for Counsel
The Office of the Indigent Defense Coordinator (IDC) assigns attorneys in all cases where a person is constitutionally entitled to an attorney and the court has determined that they are indigent and do not have the financial ability to hire one. These cases include criminal felony, misdemeanor, extradition and appellate cases, juvenile delinquency and dependency cases, and mental health commitment cases.
- IDC does not represent clients or give legal advice. IDC functions as a business office making attorney assignments, paying appointed attorneys’ fees and case related expenses, maintaining databases, and assisting with quality control throughout the court system.
- IDC assigns all cases to the Public Defender, Legal Defender or IDC Attorneys. IDC Attorneys are private attorneys who have agreed to provide legal services at a contracted rate and submit their bills to IDC for review and payment.
- Cases are referred to IDC by the Cochise County Superior and Justice Courts for assignment of counsel. Generally, cases are first referred to the Public Defender and Legal Defender offices. Cases that are not accepted by the Public Defender or the Legal Defender are then referred to IDC Attorneys. Ethical conflicts of interest or existing workload capacity are the two common reasons cases are not accepted.