On what cases will the Public Defender of Indiana provide representation?
The Public Defender of Indiana will provide representation to any indigent person committed to the Indiana Department of Correction, including someone incarcerated out-of-state on an Indiana conviction, if the conviction has present penal consequences. A conviction has present penal consequences in the following circumstances:
1) The conviction/sentence is currently being served
2) Multiple convictions/sentences are consecutive to each other
3) A prior conviction that supports a repeat offender enhancement (habitual offender, repeat sexual offender, habitual substance offender, or serious violent felon)
4) A prior misdemeanor that enhanced the current conviction to felony
If a case has present penal consequences, the Public Defender of Indiana will conduct a full legal and factual investigation and consult with the client to determine whether there are any issues of arguable merit, either raised pro se or to be added by amending the petition. If the case is meritorious, the Public Defender of Indiana will represent the petitioner at hearing and on appeal (if meritorious for appeal) in the Indiana courts. The office does not provide representation in federal court.
Effect of release from incarceration: If a client is released from incarceration before a scheduled post-conviction evidentiary hearing, the Public Defender of Indiana will not represent the client at the hearing or on any appeal in the case. If a client is released after an evidentiary hearing, the Public Defender of Indiana will continue the representation for an appeal, if the appeal is meritorious and the client wishes to pursue it.