The Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC) is the legislatively created state agency responsible for providing client services and legal representation for indigent individuals (adults and youth) when the state has charged them with a criminal or delinquent act, and the state public defender’s office has a conflict of interest. Additionally, with respect to municipal courts, the OADC evaluates participating attorneys for independence and competence and contracts with municipalities to provide court-appointed counsel. The OADC accomplishes this by contracting with over 400 private attorneys and another 500 legal service providers (social workers, paralegals, investigators, legal researchers, case assistants, legal interns, resource advocates, etc.) to provide client services on an hourly basis. Our fundamental belief is that holistic legal defense teams produce good results for our clients.
The mission of the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel (OADC), through the practice of holistic public defense, is to help adults and children who the government has charged with criminal and delinquent offenses. The OADC’s holistic practice model fosters ethical, informed, and standard-driven best practices in public defense. The OADC allocates resources in a manner intentionally designed to rebalance the disparate power wielded by the government in the criminal legal system. OADC advocates for every client’s inherent worth and dignity by centering the client’s lived experiences and voice to achieve the best legal outcome.
The OADC is dedicated to zealous, client-centered advocacy rooted in social justice, integrity, and humility. We recognize that we are working within a broken and racist criminal legal system. Public defense advocates play an essential role in challenging bias and disparity within the courtroom, within our offices, and within ourselves. Statistical data and experiences support that there is a disparate presence of violent policing, over-charging, and harsher sentencing outcomes for Colorado’s people of color and other vulnerable populations. The OADC is unwavering in its support of decarceration, the decriminalization of youth, and equity within the criminal legal system.