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 Colin Reingold, a former public defender and legal director of the Promise of Justice Initiative, noted that before Louisiana revamped its sentencing guidelines, repeat offenders could be sentenced to life even if their previous crimes weren’t violent. Tim Craig, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2024 District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Dan Dillon told CNN that Alderete was scheduled to appear in court at 2:30 p.m. CT Tuesday and would be assigned a public defender at that time. Andy Rose, CNN, 13 Feb. 2024 McClatchy News contacted a federal public defender representing Hayman for comment Feb. 6 and didn’t receive a response. Julia Marnin, Sacramento Bee, 7 Feb. 2024 Lynch and his lawyers have portrayed the case as a pointless exercise by the Department of Justice that has cost taxpayers — who are footing the bill for both the prosecution and his public defenders — millions of dollars. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Mingo made his first court appearance on Monday and was denied a public defender. Sarah Al-Arshani, USA TODAY, 30 Jan. 2024 His public defender has yet to respond to a phone call from The Enquirer seeking comment. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 24 Jan. 2024 According to online court records, Rivera is being represented by a public defender. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2024 He was referred for screening to be represented by a public defender, though court records did not list an attorney assigned to the case as of Monday evening. Bill Lukitsch, Kansas City Star, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'public defender.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1822, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of public defender was in 1822

Dictionary Entries Near public defender

Cite this Entry

“Public defender.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition

public defender

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

More from Merriam-Webster on public defender

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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