All data is current as of 2013, unless otherwise noted.
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How the right to counsel is administered and structured
Branch of government: executive
The Wyoming Office of the Public Defender (OPD) was established in 1976. OPD is an executive branch agency whose chief executive, the state public defender who is appointed directly by the Governor, directs the delivery of all right to counsel services across the state, both primary and conflict services, from the main OPD office in Cheyenne.
How the right to counsel is funded
Percentage of local funding: 15%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%
Wyoming statutes require that funding of indigent defense services be shared by the state and counties, with 85% of the total appropriation coming from state general funds and 15% from counties. OPD advocates at the state legislature for the entirety of the budget needed to provide all services. By statute, OPD then bills each individual county for its prorated share of that statewide budget, based on an equitable formula that takes into account factors such as population, property valuation, and level of serious crime. This funding scheme eliminates the need for budgetary advocacy on multiple fronts, i.e., at the state legislature and in every county, and instead allows a single consideration of budgeting needs at the state level.
The methods used to provide public counsel
Primary services are provided by full-time and part-time OPD attorneys in fourteen branch public defender offices.
For conflict representation, OPD contracts with private attorneys.
Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.