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.
Arizona Constitution, art. 2, § 24
Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.