A public defender is a private attorney who has a contract with the City of Glendale to represent indigent individuals accused of crimes, which are being prosecuted in Glendale City Court.
If a defendant is asking for a court appointed attorney, they must fill out an application, which requires providing financial information. A judge will review the application to determine if the person is entitled to a court-appointed attorney. If they are eligible, they may be ordered to pay a portion of the attorney's cost and/or administrative fee.
An indigent defendant has a constitutional right to a court-appointed attorney if:
- The charge involves a mandatory jail sentence;
- The prosecution is seeking a jail sentence either initially as a term of the sentence or potentially if The defendant violates a term of probation; or
- The court otherwise determines that a jail sentence is likely.
The judge has discretion to appoint an attorney to represent an indigent defendant "in the interest of justice" in any case if the defendant:
- Has reduced mental ability and this fact would deprive the defendant of a fair trial; or
- Cannot make a proper presentation of a defense because of the complexity of the case, for example, cases that are jury eligible.