Public Defender Services (PDS) developed the Public Defender Corporation Resource Center (PDCRC) to serve public defender corporations by utilizing specialists to assist attorneys in criminal defense advocacy. Creating the Public Defender Corporation Resource Center (PDCRC) has optimized funding by housing certain personnel at the agency dedicated to serving all the public defender corporations. In particular, the resource center allows smaller public defender corporations--which receive funding in proportion to their size--to access specialists the offices would not be able to employ independently.
In addition to the resources and services available from Public Defender Services' Appellate Advocacy Division, the following resources are available to attorneys and staff members of the Public Defender Corporations (PDCs): mitigation and alternative sentencing resources, juvenile resources, and administrative, personnel, and technology consultation.
The resource center consists of a Juvenile Resource Specialist, a Criminal Justice Specialist, and an Administrator. The Juvenile Resource Specialist consults with and assists attorneys in the various corporations regarding the representation of juveniles and the representation of parties in abuse and neglect proceedings in both trial and appellate courts. The Criminal Justice Specialist consults with and assists attorneys in the various corporations in their advocacy on behalf of clients with respect to sentencing and placement. The Administrator consults with and assists the chief public defenders in the development of budgets to support the application for grants and to administer the grants when made. All of these personnel are charged with identifying federal or other sources of funding that might be available to the public defender corporations.
By legislation that became effective on July 1, 2019, Public Defender Services was authorized to operate a division within the agency to prosecute writs of habeas corpus on behalf of indigent clients in the circuit courts of the state and in the Supreme Court of Appeals. The division has begun operations with four attorneys, a paralegal and an investigator. The division intends to assist judges throughout the state who are unable to find attorneys to take such appointments due to the challenges unique to the habeas corpus process. If appointment of the habeas corpus division to a matter is desired, the judge's office should first contact the agency to discuss the possibility.
Pursuant to the provisions of W. Va. Code §29-21-6(e), Public Defender Services is authorized to operate an appellate advocacy division. Currently, the division operates with four attorneys, a paralegal, and a legal secretary. The division is unable to accept appointment to every appeal from a criminal prosecution and asks that appointments be made when significant constitutional or other legal issues exist, and the resolution of the issue will establish encompassing precedent. If appointment of the appellate advocacy division is desired, the judge’s office should first contact the agency to discuss the possibility.
The Criminal Law Research Center was established in 1981 under the auspices of the West Virginia Public Defender Services (WVPDS). The Center acts as a source for criminal law research and information for WVPDS corporations, panel attorneys and private attorneys.
In addition to publishing the West Virginia Criminal Law Digest, the Center provides other publications, manuals and documents at reasonable rates. In 2001, the Center began conducting seminars and training sessions throughout West Virginia to assist practicing criminal attorneys.
For up-to-date information about seminars and training sessions, check out the our seminar schedule.