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: no statewide component

The state of Arizona delegates to the counties its Sixth Amendment right to counsel obligations. Exercising no oversight, the state has no means of knowing whether each county is in fact capable of fulfilling its federal obligation or whether each county actually does so.


For many years, the county-based defender systems together have maintained a statewide public defender association to provide training and support resources. But county-level systems are not compelled to participate.

How the right to counsel is funded

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

Each county is responsible for determining on its own what it believes is an adequate level of funding and providing that funding. The state distributes to counties a relatively minuscule amount of funding, to supplement — “not supplant” — county funding, that is collected from fees and surcharges assessed in various cases and held in the Aid to Indigent Defense Fund until distributed.

The methods used to provide public counsel

Each county determines on its own how best to provide public counsel services. The majority of counties (10) have county-run public defender offices, and in some urban counties there are two or more such offices for conflict and overflow representation. Other counties rely entirely on contracts with private attorneys to handle cases on behalf of indigent clients.


Legal authority

Arizona Constitution, art. 2, § 24

Arizona Revised Statutes, §§ 11-581 through 11-588 (county public defender offices), and § 13-4013 (compensation of appointed attorney at trial), and § 13-4041 (compensation of appointed attorney on appeal and capital post-conviction), and § 41-2409 (funding allocation)

Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, rules 6.1 through 6.8 (right to counsel, appointment and compensation of court-appointed attorney)

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