Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: ODS offices remain operational. Please call if you need a public defender. More Info
The Office of Defense Services (ODS) provides defense attorneys for people accused of crimes who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers. The ODS maintains offices in New Castle, Kent and Sussex Counties. Attorneys with the ODS defend adults and juveniles who have been charged with crimes in Delaware.
The guiding principle at the ODS is that financial means is not a barrier to obtaining zealous legal representation. Our mission is to make sure our clients’ Sixth Amendment rights to an effective lawyer and to a fair trial are respected and realized.
The ODS is an independent state agency whose operations are funded through Delaware’s general fund. The office does not receive any proceeds from fees or charges levied against our clients.
The Chief Defender has the professional duty to work to improve the criminal justice system and to make sure that poor people are as well represented as people with money. Brendan O’Neill, Delaware’s Chief Defender, was appointed in 2009 then re-appointed to a second six-year term in 2015.
The ODS’ commitment to improving the justice system extends beyond the courtroom. Attorneys and staff with the ODS frequently engage in community outreach events and robust public advocacy.