Office of the Public Defender Overview

Fiscal Year 2021/22

Mission Statement

To provide quality, diligent and ethical representation of indigent defendants entitled to appointed counsel in Tucson City Court and to protect and defend the rights guaranteed us by the United States and Arizona Constitutions.

Programs

The following programs are included in this department:

Staffing By Program


*Full Time Equivalent Employee (FTE)

Budget By Program



Department Expenses

Budget By Expense Category

Budget By Funding Source

Significant Changes

The adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2021/22 of $3,269,260 reflects an increase of $12,010 from the Fiscal Year 2020/21 Adopted Budget. Major changes include the following:


  • Increase in salary and employee related expenses* by $100,580

Trends

The volume of criminal filings and the number of cases the Public Defender’s Office is appointed on fluctuates, which created a direct impacts on budgetary needs. Use of grant funding has been instrumental to overcome ethical barriers presented in the Public Defender's Office representation.


In addition, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the office has adapted to new ways of practicing law which include hearings and meetings via Teams and Zoom. The department continues to collaborate with outside agencies focusing on jail reform and wrap-around services for clients.


Accomplishments

The past year was filled with great challenges; however, City Public Defender never lost focus of its mission and obligations. The office's greatest accomplishment was the continued diligent representation of its clients, both in-custody and out-of-custody and members of the community. The commitment to the community never wavered.

Future Objectives

City Public Defender continues to be challenged by the backlog of court cases, but with the recently grant funded attorney position there has been progress in minimizing the impact on current caseloads. The goal is to eventually reduce the backlog of court cases. The office continues to follow the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) guidelines to protect the team members and the public. Beyond the pandemic, the major challenge is the replacement of the case management system. Much focus, time and effort will need to be placed on this vital element necessary for the continuous success of the department's mission.