Legal Dictionary

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Court Appointed Attorney

In a criminal matter, a court-appointed attorney is referred to as a “public defender.” Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, anyone prosecuted for a crime has a right to legal counsel. The defendant does not have to accept the services of the court-appointed attorney and can instead hire a private criminal defense attorney or defend himself, which is referred to as representation in pro per. See also, Public Defender, Prosecutor.