Office of State Public Defender

Academic Year/Summer

Faculty Supervisor: Adjunct Professor Maylinn Smith

Supervising Attorney: Brent Getty

Prerequisite: Professional Responsibility

Pre- or Co-Requisite:  Criminal Procedure - Investigative, Criminal Procedure - Adjudicative

Areas of Emphases: Criminal Law, Appellate Advocacy, full representation of defendants in criminal cases, appellate representation in the Sentence Review Division of the Montana Supreme Court.

Sample Projects
  • Present oral arguments and briefs to the Sentence Review Division
  • Post and edit briefs which are available to all approved indigent defense attorneys on-line through the Office of the Public Defender Brief Bank

General Information

The Montana Office of Public Defender (OPD) is the court-appointed attorney for individuals unable to afford counsel in all misdemeanor criminal cases in the municipal and justice courts, felony criminal cases, juvenile proceedings, mental commitments, and dependent and neglect proceedings.

Students in this field placement handled investigation, client meetings, entry or changes of pleas; hearings on motions; jury trials; and bench trials.  Students also assist a felony trial attorney by serving as second chair during a felony jury trial.  Students research and write pre-trial suppression motions; motions to dismiss; and, any other significant pre-trial motions.  They also argue before the Montana Supreme Court’s Sentence Review Division, meet with clients, and appear, with any of the full-time public defenders, at jail court, for video appearance in all of the Missoula courts.

The work is primarily in Missoula County, but may include work in Ravalli and Mineral Counties.