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

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 Bloom Academy Charter School is founded by Courtney Rodriguez-Sales, a Teach For America alumna who left education to become an assistant public defender, then returned to an administrative role in Pittsburgh Public Schools. Jacob Carpenter, Houston Chronicle, "State approves 2 new charter school operators eyeing south Houston," 5 June 2018 He has been suspended without pay from his position as an assistant public defender. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Ex-Miami state trooper and commission aide accused of buying heroin from undercover cop | Miami Herald," 16 May 2018 At least one court in Connecticut is using video conferencing to allow detainees to participate in their hearings because they're housed in Alabama, said Elisa Villa, a supervisory assistant public defender. Alanna Durkin Richer, The Christian Science Monitor, "Local authorities struggle with ICE over bringing detainees to court," 10 May 2018 With about 3 percent of the votes tabulated in the Democratic Primary, interim DA Spencer Merriweather led former assistant public defender Toussaint Romain, 81.9 percent to 18.1 percent. Michael Gordon, charlotteobserver, "Merriweather jumps to big, early lead in Meck district attorney's race," 8 May 2018 An attorney with the state public defender’s office is representing him in the criminal case. Kathleen Foody, The Seattle Times, "Idaho woman charged in connection to missing Colorado mom," 5 Feb. 2019

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

24 Apr 2019

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The first known use of public defender was in 1822

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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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