View of the Reno Sparks night skyline from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
View of the Reno Sparks night skyline from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park

What is the difference between the Public Defender`s office and the Alternate Public Defender`s Office?

The Washoe County Public Defender`s Office initially takes every case where a person has been appointed a lawyer. The cases are then screened by staff members to see if there is a conflict of interest. Conflicts of interest can arise if the Public Defender has represented a victim or witness in a case, or if there is more than one defendant charged with the crime. If the Public Defender`s Office determines that there is a legal reason it cannot represent a person, then that case is sent to the Alternate Public Defender`s Office.



If the Alternate Public Defender’s office also has a conflict of interest, then a private lawyer will handle the case.