a lawyer appointed or elected by a city or county as a full-time, official defender to represent indigents in criminal cases at public expense.
Compare assigned counsel.
Origin of public defender
First recorded in 1915–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
(in the US) a lawyer engaged at public expense to represent indigent defendants
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
An attorney who is appointed and paid by a court to defend poor persons who cannot afford a lawyer.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.