Monday, May 22, 2006

Erie County Public Defender's Office

Newly-elected Erie County Executive Mark DiVecchio has appointed Tony Logue as Chief Public Defender.

Attorney Logue oversees a staff of seven full-time attorneys, thirteen part-time attorneys, two investigators, and three support staff. The office provides legal representation at no cost to clients who meet financial guidelines in the following types of cases:

Adults charged with criminal or traffic offenses that carry possible incarceration as punishment

Juveniles charged with criminal offenses

County or state parole/probation revocation proceedings

Proceedings under the Mental Health Act that may result in involuntary commitments

Violations of Protection From Abuse orders

Support contempt proceedings

Proceedings before appellate courts

Representation of children in dependency hearings

An interview with a potential client is used to determine if the person qualifies for free representation by the Public Defender's Office. These interviews are conducted either at the main office located at 509 Sassafras Street, or at the Erie County Prison if a potential client is incarcerated. A case is assigned to a staff member as soon as a person qualifies for service.

Among the changes that attorney Logue has instituted in the Public Defender's Office is a Citizens Advisory Committee that will assist him in determining how best to meet the needs of potential clients. He has also developed an assignment system that will better insure continuity and efficiency of client representation. Logue has also appointed Erie attorney James Pitonyak as First Assistant Public Defender.

For more information about the services at the Public Defender's Office, you can call them at 451-6322, or go the Erie County government Web site at .