Providing defense to clients in the District of Arizona and other jurisdictions

The Federal Defender Office for the District of Arizona is dedicated to fulfilling the responsibilities of the sixth amendment to the Constitution and the promise of Gideon.  Since 1961, we have protected constitutional rights, provided a vigorous defense, and promoted justice and fairness. We were the first federal defender office created under the Criminal Justice Act. We take our responsibilities and legacy seriously, and strive to our utmost  to defend our clients as well as we can. ~ Jon Sands, Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona

In addition to our attorneys, we have extremely talented support staff, paralegals, investigators, and social workers. Our two-year paralegal program attracts outstanding recent college graduates who work tirelessly during their time with us and often go on to law school or other graduate programs.  Our investigators have many years of experience in the public and private sectors, and they receive constant training to stay current in forensic analysis across a variety of fields. Our social workers are leaders in the field, and our office is a field placement for Master's Degree candidates at top social work graduate schools.

Our staff work together to provide comprehensive representation to our clients.  We conduct thorough investigations, diligently counsel and advise clients about their options, and fight vigorously through motion practice and at trial.  If our clients are convicted, we advocate on their behalf at sentencing by developing and presenting a full picture of their lives, not one defined exclusively by their mistakes.  We also represent our clients on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals and, if possible, to the United States Supreme Court.

And our work does not end after the legal case is over.  We actively participate in reentry programs for recently released inmates and help support clients with mental health and substance abuse problems both during and after their cases.

The current state of mass incarceration in America is one of our society's gravest ills. The United States imprisons a far greater percentage of its population than any country on earth. With five percent of the world's population, the United States incarcerates over 25% of the world's prisoners.  This was not always the case.  A mere generation ago, the incarceration rate in America was roughly equal to that of other industrialized nations.  We have far surpassed all of them now, with a rate nearly ten times their average.  This, despite the similar rise and fall in crime rates across those same countries.

Federal sentences are among the most draconian in the country.  While the trend in many state systems is toward reduced imprisonment, the federal inmate population continues to grow.  Through our work, case by case, and in partnerships with national organizations, we hope to bring some sense of reason, proportionality, and humanity to a criminal justice system that too often lacks all three.

For more information on the history of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona

Our Attorneys