Alaska

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All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
Return to the list of all States & Territories.

Read about a particular aspect of the right to counsel in Alaska by clicking on the heading for that issue. Or [Expand All] to see and print from one location all of the facts about the right to counsel in Alaska, then [Collapse All] whenever you need to do so.

How the right to counsel is administered and structured

State commission: none
Branch of government: executive

Alaska has two parallel systems providing right to counsel services across the state. Both are executive branch agencies.

The primary statewide system is the Public Defender Agency (PDA). The PDA’s chief public defender is appointed by the governor from two nominations of the Judicial Counsel and subject to confirmation by a majority of members of the legislature.

In cases of conflict and for civil matters, the Office of Public Advocacy (OPA) provides statewide services. The director of OPA is appointed by the governor.

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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

Primary services are provided by the Public Defender Agency (PDA), which has branch offices located in various locations throughout the state. PDA uses a mixture of full-time staff attorneys and contracts with private attorneys.

In cases of conflict, the Office of Public Advocacy (OPA) provides services through a structure similar to that of the primary system, but with a greater emphasis on contracting with private counsel for direct representation. The OPA also provides representation in abuse and neglect cases, public guardianship for incapacitated adults, and for parents in child in need of aid cases.

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Legal authority

Alaska Constitution, art. 1, § 11

Alaska Statutes, §§ 18.85.010 through 18.85.170 (public defender agency), and §§ 44.21.400 through 44.21.470 (office of public advocacy)

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

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