New Mexico

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At a Glance (as of 2013)

Percentage of state funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%
State commission: yes
Branch of government: judiciary


Structure & Funding of Indigent Defense Services

The New Mexico Public Defender Department is a statewide, state-funded agency of the judicial branch overseen by an independent, 11-member commission appointed by diverse authorities: Governor (1 appointee); Chief Justice (3); Dean of University of New Mexico School of Law (3); Speaker of the House of Representatives (1);  Senate President (1); and. Majority floor leaders of each chamber (one each). The commission selects the state’s chief public defender. The Department is responsible for the provision of right to counsel throughout the state’s trial and appellate courts, and provides direct client services through a mixture of traditional public defender offices and contracts with private attorneys.


The agency’s 11 branch public defender offices are located in and serve the state’s more urban areas. In rural parts of the state, the agency’s Contract Counsel Legal Services division administers contracts with private attorneys on a flat-fee-per-case basis.

Statutory Authority

NMSA § 31-15-1 through 31-15-12

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