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August 25, 2022

Public Defense Providers and Interested Stakeholders: 

On Friday August 19, and in response to the crisis with unrepresented individuals, the PDSC authorized new policies regarding public defense case assignment and compensation.  Effective today, current contract attorneys who are not 1.0 MAC may be assigned cases off-contract and be compensated at $158/hour.   

The expansion of the $158 Hourly Rate Program will allow current public defense providers (who have less than a 1.0 MAC) to accept a limited number of non-contract hourly case appointments for any in-custody criminal and juvenile delinquency cases at the rate of $158.00 per hour, following OPDS review of the providers’ open caseload (including public defense clients and non-public defense cases or legal work).  To receive this rate, the following must occur: 

  • The defendant must be in custody; 

  • The defendant must be on the OPDS list of unrepresented individuals; 

  • The attorney cannot currently provide public defense representation pursuant to a 1.0 MAC contract; 

  • The attorney must sign an agreement with the agency to provide legal representation to eligible clients, which can be found here;  

  • The case assignment must be approved by OPDS.

If you are an attorney qualified to handle public defense cases, or if you are interested in being qualified to accept cases, please contact Laurie Bender at

Additionally, we wanted to continue to welcome any ideas the public defense community has to address this continued crisis of lack of sufficient attorneys to cover all the people who need counsel. If you have a creative plan for us that you think we have not considered, please get in touch with

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The Office of Public Defense Services ensures that eligible individuals have timely access to legal services, consistent with Oregon and national standards of justice.
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