public defender

noun
a lawyer appointed or elected by a city or county as a full-time, official defender to represent indigents in criminal cases at public expense.


Origin:
1915–20

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
public defender
 
n
(in the US) a lawyer engaged at public expense to represent indigent defendants

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

public defender definition


An attorney who is appointed and paid by a court to defend poor persons who cannot afford a lawyer.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

public defender

attorney permanently employed by a government to represent indigent persons accused of crimes. Public defenders, used primarily in the United States, are to be distinguished from assigned counsel (q.v.), who are private lawyers appointed by the courts to handle particular cases. See also legal aid.

Learn more about public defender with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
With no criminal charges involved, no public defender need be appointed.
And the county public defender's office may push to repeal the law.
He was the public defender appointed to represent her.
At the arraignment, the court typically appoints the public defender if you can't afford a private attorney.
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