Organization and Administration
The Division of Public Defender Services is an agency of the State of Connecticut, established by
Chapter 887 of the Connecticut General Statutes. The policy-making and appointing authority
for the Division is the Public Defender Services Commission. The seven (7) members of the
Commission are appointed for three-year terms, in accordance with Sec. 51-289, C.G.S., by the
Governor, the Chief Justice, the Speaker of the House, the Senate President Pro Tempore, and the
House of Representatives Minority and Majority Leaders. The current members of the Commission are
listed on page seven together with their appointing authorities.
As established by statute, the Division is made up of three separate components: a Commission
responsible for policy-making, appointments of all personnel and compensation matters; an Office of
Chief Public Defender charged with statewide administration of the public defender system and the
provision of specialized legal representation; and the individual public defender offices providing legal
services throughout the State to indigent persons accused of crimes as required by both the United
States and Connecticut Constitutions.
Section 51-291(m), C.G.S., specifies that the Commission is an “autonomous body within the Judicial
Department for fiscal and budgetary purposes only.” As such, the Commission is part of the Judicial
Department but is otherwise autonomous within that branch of state government. All attorneys and
other employees of the Division are appointed by the Public Defender Services Commission. The
Commission also establishes the compensation plan for the Division, approves certain expenditures,
and establishes policies and procedures relating to the operation of the Division.