The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Districts of Colorado and Wyoming, with locations in Denver and Cheyenne, serves two states. Since its founding in 1975, the office has been appointed to provide trial and appellate legal representation – in federal district court, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court – to persons charged with or convicted of crimes.
Dan Sears served as the first Federal Public Defender for Colorado and Wyoming. Dan was followed by Michael Katz. Raymond P. Moore was the Defender from 2004 to 2013, when he was appointed as a U.S. District Court Judge. Judge Moore’s appointment coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, requiring states to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants unable to pay for their own attorneys. Virginia L. Grady was appointed as the Federal Public Defender in September 2013.
The trial and appellate lawyers in our offices are recognized, locally and nationally, as leaders in their fields, and are regularly called upon to lecture at continuing education programs around the country. The office also conducts training for Colorado and Wyoming lawyers who serve on the Criminal Justice Act Panel.
Our lawyers are aided by a support staff of administrators, computer systems experts, legal assistants, paralegals, research and writers, and investigators. All are dedicated to treating the persons we represent with respect, and to understanding the difficult circumstances in which they find themselves.
In 1963, the same year Gideon was decided, the Attorney General’s Committee on Poverty and the Administration of Criminal Justice, made this observation:
The survival of our system of criminal justice and the values which it advances depends on a constant, searching, and creative questioning of official decisions and assertions of authority at all stages of the process. The proper performance of the defense function is thus as vital to the health of the system as the performance of the prosecuting and judicatory functions.
In performing this vital function, the lawyers of the Office of the Federal Public Defender are committed to being advocates for their clients, not facilitators of the system.