The Cuyahoga County Public Defender's Office was established in 1977 to provide legal representation to adults and juveniles facing criminal charges. Over the last 45 years, the Office has grown in both size and scope. It now consists of approximately 150 employees, including roughly 100 attorneys as well as social workers, investigators, paralegals, administrative staff, and law clerks.
Our mission: Providing excellent representation to protect the rights, liberties, and dignity of those who cannot afford to retain counsel in criminal, juvenile delinquency, and parental rights’ cases.
Our work: The Public Defender's Office represents:
- People facing felony criminal charges in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
- People charged with misdemeanor crimes in Cleveland or Lakewood Municipal Courts.
- Parents accused of abuse, neglect, or dependency of their children or who are at risk for DCFS involvement.
- Juveniles accused of committing delinquent acts in Juvenile Court and juveniles facing the possibility of being prosecuted as an adult.
- Adults who have been charged with contempt for non-payment of child support in both Juvenile Court and Domestic Relations Court.
- People in direct appeals of felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile court decisions.
- People seeking to expunge or seal a criminal record and other types of post-conviction relief.
Our leadership: Chief Public Defender Cullen Sweeney and his leadership team are committed to ensuring quality representation for those who cannot afford counsel and to improving both the criminal justice and child welfare systems.
Our staff: Accessible and dedicated to the needs of our clients and those impacted by the criminal justice and child welfare systems.
310 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Hours Of Operation