public defender


Definition of public defender

: a lawyer usually holding public office whose duty is to defend accused persons unable to pay for legal assistance

Examples of public defender in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Assistant public defender Shane O’Neal, who was set to represent two defendants in child separation cases next week in Pecos, Texas, said the charges against his clients were dropped in accordance with orders from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Time, "Exclusive: U.S. Attorney in West Texas Drops ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Charges Against Migrants Who Came With Children," 21 June 2018 But Lee’s public defender told jurors the evidence was compromised. Tim Prudente,, "Jury acquits Baltimore man in 1981 cold case killing of 75-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted," 20 June 2018 Another public defender said Clyde Johnson has a job offshore as a merchant mariner and works in two-week increments. Heather Nolan,, "3 indicted in alleged 7th ward narcotics trafficking operation," 24 May 2018 Cruz's public defender also is likely to ask to waive Florida's speedy trial rule. Curt Anderson,, "Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz due back in court this afternoon," 27 Apr. 2018 Such long jail stays pressure people into pleading guilty, public defenders say. Jeff Amy, The Christian Science Monitor, "Mississippi's pretrial jail terms among the longest in the nation," 24 Apr. 2018 Weldon’s public defender could not be reached for comment. Chris Harris,, "After Cops Pull Over Driver for Broken Taillight, Woman Says He Raped Her — and Police Find 3 Dead Bodies at His Home," 1 June 2018 Paul Rounds, a public defender representing Richards, declined comment. Fox News, "Slain golfer, suspect lived contrasting lives in Iowa city," 19 Sep. 2018 Azalea Aleman-Bendiks, an assistant federal public defender, said hundreds of parents and children likely remain apart. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "Two powerful forces collide at the U.S.-Mexico border, as immigration policy meets desperation," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'public defender.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of public defender

1822, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for public defender

Last Updated

5 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for public defender

The first known use of public defender was in 1822

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More Definitions for public defender

public defender


English Language Learners Definition of public defender

US : a lawyer who is paid by the government to defend people who are accused of a crime and are unable to pay for a private lawyer

public defender


Legal Definition of public defender

: a lawyer usually holding public office who represents criminal defendants unable to pay for legal assistance

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