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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

State Board of Public Defense

Also known as:
Public Defense Board
State of Minnesota Board of Public Defense
Active dates:1981-

Approves and recommends a budget to the Minnesota legislature and establishes procedures for distribution of state funding for the board, the office of state public defender, the judicial district public defenders, and the public defense corporations. The board approves standards for the offices of the state and district public defenders and for the conduct of all appointed counsel systems as established by the state public defender. Appoints the state public defender (see Minn. Stat. 611.22,.23) and all judicial district public defenders.


In 1963, the United States Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainright recognized that the fundamental right to a fair trial requires an indigent person accused of a crime to have the assistance of counsel.

Minnesota has responded to this Constitutional mandate in a practical and cost-effective manner. Coordinated and funded by the Board of Public Defense, Minnesota Public Defenders represent indigent accused people in each of Minnesota's 87 counties. The state is divided into ten judicial districts; each of these districts has at least one full time Public Defender office. Each district's activities are supervised by a Chief Public Defender who is appointed by the Board. Additionally, state and federal appeals are brought by the lawyers in our appellate office. (Information taken from Board website 12/11/12)


As of 2023 Minn. Laws Chap. 52 Art. 19 Sec. 41, the State Board of Public Defense shall consist of nine members including:

  • five attorneys admitted to the practice of law, well acquainted with the defense of persons accused of crime, but not employed as prosecutors, appointed by the supreme court, of which one must be a retired or former public defender within the past five years; and
  • four public members appointed by the governor.

Entries for this agency in the Annual Compilation and Statistical Report of Multi-Member Agencies Report: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981.

Note: This report provides membership details as well as meeting information and a summary of the group's activities.

Agency heads:

Public defender; term, 4 years

Note: The Legislative Reference Library may have additional reports on or by this group available through our catalog.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1981-2017.
Record last updated: 05/21/2023

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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