Since 2001, the Office of Indigent Defense Services (“IDS”) has overseen legal representation for indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel in North Carolina. Created by an act of the N.C. General Assembly, the organization works daily to make real the Constitution’s right to counsel for those charged with crimes or who face significant deprivations to their liberty.
IDS trains, qualifies, and sets performance standards for attorneys, as well as determines the most appropriate and cost-effective methods for delivering legal defense services in each of the state’s judicial districts. It is committed to recruiting North Carolina’s most talented attorneys to represent indigent defendants and to providing those attorneys with the resources they need to be effective.
IDS works diligently to anticipate and resolve systemic issues that impact defenders and their clients. For two decades, it has distinguished itself nationally as a leader in the development of innovative, high quality, cost-effective, and accountable indigent defense programs. Many states, including Georgia, Texas and Virginia, have looked to IDS’s example and establishing act for guidance in improving their own defense systems.
The organization’s programmatic work includes efforts to increase communication and resource-sharing with the private bar; the development of legal training programs, often in partnership with the UNC School of Government; the establishment of a specialized Office of the Juvenile Defender; and the creation of performance guidelines for appointed counsel across a number of practice areas. IDS also works regularly with the Offices of the Capital Defender and Appellate Defender to recruit and evaluate attorneys for their respective rosters, ensure their appointments in a timely and equitable manner, and to support them with expert services.
IDS and its staff are committed to the continued delivery of quality legal services to indigent persons throughout North Carolina. For more information about IDS and its role in public defense, see Why We Have a Public Defense System.