Legal definition of Alternate Public Defender
Felonies Legal Terminology

Alternate Public Defender

An Alternate Public Defender (APD) is a highly trained and devoted attorney, specializing in criminal defense, employed by the County of Los Angeles. APD attorneys provide high quality, cost effective and caring representation in cases where the Public Defender has a conflict of interest.

Although the APD handles every type of misdemeanor and felony case, it distinguishes itself by its representation in the most serious and otherwise costly cases for the county. In these cases, APD attorneys put to work their exceptional skills, training, and dedication to their clients.
A first Public Defender in the United States was appointed in 1913 and the office has been providing constitutionally mandated and quality legal representation to indigent people since that time. But the Public Defender can only ethically represent certain people and not others due to conflicts of interest. This situation most typically arises where more than one person is charged with a crime in the same case. The Public Defender can only represent one person in those types of cases since each person charged with a crime is entitled to have their own lawyer devoted to protecting their interests in the case. If the other person or persons are indigent, the court must appoint other counsel to represent them. The most common way to handle this situation had been for the courts to appoint counsel from the ranks of the private bar.
Source: LA County Alternate Public Defender's website
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