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

The books were donated by public defenders, probation and court staff. Lauren Hernandez,, "Graduates of Young Adult Court in SF get second chance to beat the odds," 28 June 2018 Bunin was appointed Harris County’s first public defender in 2010. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "Radack accuses public defender of helping lawyers in bail lawsuit against county," 8 June 2018 For federal public defenders in San Diego, the first week of the new zero-tolerance policy was rough, said Reuben Cahn, the executive director of the Federal Defenders of San Diego. Kate Morrissey,, "Can legal system handle new zero-tolerance crackdown on illegal border crossings?," 12 May 2018 Monica Foster, the chief federal public defender in the Southern District of Indiana, characterized the policies as a simplistic response to a complex problem looming over Indianapolis. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "How Trump's federal prosecutor is bringing the 'hammer' against Indianapolis gun violence," 19 Apr. 2018 Kagan was a public defender in New York before moving to Central Florida and has been a criminal defense attorney for the last 20 years, according to her campaign website. Gray Rohrer,, "Seminole lawyer announces run for House seat, setting up Democratic primary," 18 Apr. 2018 During Larvinette's hearing the same day, Blackburn set his bond at $17,500 and also appointed the public defender in his case. Emily Lane,, "Inmates used 'sticks and homemade masks' in October riot at Orleans jail: OPSO," 8 Apr. 2018 Allen Wolf, the head public defender in Montgomery County whose office is representing Bond, said their client will plead not guilty. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Target of murder-for-hire plot tries to laugh away bargain-based price tag: ‘Insulting to be sure’," 13 July 2018 The public defender’s attempt to block the subpoena — known as seeking to quash it — could lead to an early court battle in the murder prosecution. Ian Duncan,, "Prosecutors seek access to Capital Gazette shooting suspect's jail mail; his lawyer says that violates his rights," 12 July 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

11 Sep 2018

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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

: 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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