It is the mission of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) to provide and promote quality legal representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia, thereby protecting society's interest in the fair administration of justice.
A major portion of the work we do consists of representing individuals in the District of Columbia’s local criminal justice system who are charged with committing serious criminal acts and who are eligible for court-appointed counsel.
PDS attorneys represent indigent clients in the majority of the most serious adult felony cases filed in the District of Columbia Superior Court every year, clients pursuing or defending against criminal appeals, nearly all individuals facing parole revocation under the District of Columbia Code, and all defendants in the District of Columbia Superior Court requiring representation at Drug Court sanctions hearings. PDS also provides legal representation to people facing involuntary civil commitment in the mental health system, as well as to many of the indigent children in the most serious delinquency cases, including those who have special education needs due to learning disabilities.
PDS provides its exceptional legal service through seven legal divisions: Trial, Appellate, Mental Health, Special Litigation, Parole, Civil Legal Services, and Community Defender. The successful work of these legal divisions is supported by the Investigations Division, the Office of Rehabilitation and Development, the Defender Services Office, and administrative support.