Wyoming

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At a Glance (as of 2013)

Percentage of state funding: 85%
Percentage of local funding: 15%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%
State commission: none
Branch of government: executive

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Structure & Funding of Indigent Defense Services

The Wyoming Office of the Public Defender (OPD) was first established in 1976. OPD is an executive branch agency whose chief executive, the state public defender, directs the delivery of all right to counsel services across the state, both primary and conflict services, from the main OPD office in Cheyenne. Fourteen branch public defender offices (with full time and part time staff attorneys) provide the majority of services, although the agency also contracts with private attorneys to handle conflict cases.

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Statutory language requires the funding of indigent defense services to be a hybrid state and county responsibility, with 85% of the OPD appropriation coming from state general funds and 15% from counties. But, whereas most hybrid state-county systems require budgets to be advocated for on many fronts (e.g., in Ohio, funding for right to counsel services must be battled at the state legislature and in the vast majority of Ohio’s 88 counties), the same Wyoming statute authorizes OPD to bill individual counties a prorated share of their state budget based upon an equitable formula that takes into account such factors as population, property valuation, and level of serious crime. Thus all indigent defense budget battles occur at the state level.

Statutory Authority

WY State § 7-6-103 through 7-6-114

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