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Counsel – Right to, Public Expense – Generally

State v. Alvernest Floyd Kennedy, 2008 WI App 186
Pro se


¶10      There are two avenues by which an indigent criminal defendant will be afforded counsel at no expense. The first is through the legislatively created Office of the State Public Defender. The legislature created Wis. Stat. ch. 977 of the Wisconsin Statutes establishing the Office of the State Public Defender “to deal with the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants.” Pirk, 175 Wis.  2d at 506. The second avenue emerges only after a defendant has been found ineligible by the SPD and rests in the inherent power of the court. See State v. Dean, 163 Wis.  2d 503, 512-13, 471 N.W.2d 310 (Ct. App. 1991). If a criminal defendant has been found ineligible by the SPD statutory standards for the appointment of counsel, the trial court may, in its discretion, invoke its inherent authority and appoint counsel at county expense when “the ‘necessities of the case’ and the demands of ‘public justice and sound policy’ require appointing counsel … to protect the defendant’s constitutional right to counsel.” Id. at 513 (citation omitted).


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