Rhode Island

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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: none
Branch of government: executive


Structure & Funding of Indigent Defense Services

Rhode Island is home to the nation’s first-ever statewide, state-funded public defender office. The Rhode Island Public Defender remains to this day as the state’s primary system for providing right to counsel services. The chief public defender is a direct gubernatorial appointee, and is responsible for directing the agency’s services to indigent defendants in adult criminal and juvenile delinquency trials and appeals. Being a geographically small state, the agency has but five satellite offices located across the state.


Conflict representation is provided by a panel of private attorneys, paid hourly on a per-case basis, and administered by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Statutory Authority

R.I. General Laws, Chapter 12-15

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