Office of the Territorial Public Defender, U.S. Virgin Islands

// Welcome

I am a public defender.

I am the guardian of the presumption of innocence, due process, and fair trial. To me is entrusted the preservation of those sacred principles. I will promulgate them with courtesy and respect but not with obsequiousness and not with fear for I am partisan; I am counsel for the defense. Let none who oppose me forget that with every fiber of my being I will fight for my clients. My clients are the indigent accused. They are the lonely, the friendless. There is no one to speak for them but me. My voice will be raised in their defense. I will resolve all doubt in their favor. This will be my credo; this and the Golden Rule. I will seek acclaim and approval only from my own conscience. And if upon my death there are a few lonely people who have benefited, my efforts will not have been in vain.

 — Jim Doherty, Cook County, Illinois Public Defender

Welcome to the Website of the Office of the Territorial Public Defender

The Public Defender Administrative Board and staff invite you to utilize this site to learn and understand our purpose, our staff, our work and your legal rights.  We hope that you will learn about the office and people who are working diligently to serve and protect the right to counsel guaranteed to everyone, regardless of financial ability.  The basis for the existence and work of the Office of the Territorial Public Defender (OTPD) is the landmark 1963 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Gideon v. Wainwright: Gideon seeks to guarantee a fair trial for every person, regardless of their economic means. 

We are responsible for defending individuals who face the loss of their liberty and are determined by the court to be indigent by financial criteria established by the local courts for court appointed counsel.  The services of The Office of the Territorial Public Defender is available to all who meet this financial criteria who are charged with criminal offenses in Superior Court of the Virgin Islands and those who have, or wish to file, an appeal to the Virgin Islands Supreme Court.  At the OTPD, we take a holistic approach to our cases and it is our goal to continue to diligently and effectively represent each client at every stage of the criminal proceedings, inclusive of advice of rights initial hearings to appeal. On our site, you will find information about the Virgin Islands criminal justice system, our responsibilities, as well as any programs that we have instituted.  I am extremely proud of the fine group of individuals that make up the OTPD, all of whom have dedicated their time, lives, and service to those in need in our community.