Welcome to the Canyon County Public Defender’s Office. Our office doors opened on October 1, 2014 and the court will begin appointing our office on cases on that day.
Based on the United States Supreme Court’s 1963 landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainright, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases to represent defendants who are unable to afford to pay their own attorneys. The case required that defendants be afforded due process under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution in state court proceedings, regardless of financial circumstances.
Our goal and responsibility is to provide ethical, effective, and zealous representation to our individual clients. Our office handles court-appointed matters which include the following: misdemeanors, felonies, juvenile matters, mental health commitments, child protection cases, and contempt matters.
To obtain the services of the Public Defender’s Office, all individuals must request our appointment by the Court and submit a financial declaration.
We are so excited to usher in this new era of public defense in Canyon County.
Tera A. Harden
Chief Public Defender
Canyon County Public Defender’s Mission
The Canyon County Public Defender’s Office was established to implement the Constitutional and legislatively mandated obligation to provide effective representation to individuals entitled to but unable to afford legal counsel. The office's mission is to responsibly use community resources to provide the highest quality legal representation to any person unable to afford such representation in criminal, juvenile or certain civil proceedings, upon the request of the client or the appointment of the Court.
In fulfilling this Mission we will:
Assure that the rights and interests of our clients determine the best course of action taken on their behalf;
Assure that our clients are afforded complete and vigorous representation by a fully competent attorney;
Support our clients as diligent and conscientious advocates;
Maintain the highest levels of professional integrity and ethics;
Exercise well informed professional judgments;
Represent our clients with compassion; and
Serve, honor and protect the Constitutional rights of the People of Canyon County.
It is the Canyon County Public Defender’s goal to assemble, train, and implement a team of the most competent attorneys in the indigent defense community working hand in hand with other attorneys, investigators, interpreters, and legal support staff to fulfill our duties to our clients while leading the way in public defense statewide.