Public Defender

Cris Elliott Chris Elliott
Clay County Public Defender
Clay County Courthouse
P.O. Box 105
Louisville, IL 62858
Phone: (618)-665-3504
Fax:     (618)-665-3505
Hours of Operation:
Mon. – Fri.
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(see “Holiday Schedule”)

Who is eligible to receive the services of a Public Defender?

The Public Defender represents those individuals that have been accused of a crime which carries with it the possibility of incarceration in either prison or the Clay County jail. When a Defendant cannot afford to retain private counsel and has been determined to be indigent by a judge presiding in Clay County, then the judge may appoint the Public Defender to represent the Defendant. To have the Public Defender appointed, the Defendant must first request appointment request appointment of counsel, and then the judge determines whether or not the Defendant’s income exceeds the maximum income permitted to be determined eligible to receive the services of the Public Defender. Eligibility for a Public Defender is determined by the court based upon the number of dependents that the Defendant has and the salary of the Defendant. The appointment of the Public Defender is subject to the possibility that the court may order that the Defendant reimburse Clay County in whole or in part for the services of the Public Defender. In matters in which a Defendant qualifies for a Public Defender, but the Public Defender has a conflict of interest, e.g. he represent another defendant that was arrested with the defendant, alternate counsel will be appointed by the court for anyone who otherwise qualifies for the services of the Public Defendant.

In what types of cases can a Public Defender be appointed?

The Public Defender handles all types of criminal matters from misdemeanors, the less serious offenses, to felonies, the more serious offenses. The Public Defender cannot be appointed in petty offenses which are minor offenses such as some traffic offenses for which the possible penalties do not include the possibility of jail time. The Public Defender’s Office can also be appointed in cases involving Juvenile Delinquency, Truancy, and Abuse and Neglect of minor children. In such cases, the Public Defender can be appointed to represent either provide their own attorney or the Public Defender will be appointed, unless he is representing one of their parents or has some other conflict of interest in which case alternate counsel will be appointed by the judge to represent the interest of the minor. The Public Defender’s office will not be and cannot be appointed in proceedings, that are civil in nature such as, divorces, child custody, estates, personal injury, small claims, and other similar matters.

Who may contact the Public Defender?

Anyone can contact the Office of the Public Defender, but the Public Defender will only discuss matters with persons to whom he has been appointed and their family members if so requested by the Defendant. Matters that are privileged in nature will only be discussed with the Defendant.

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