Whittelsey Hydrostation, Malone
Photo Courtesy Franklin County Historical & Museum Society

Public Defender, Conflict Defender & Assigned Counsel



The Franklin County Assigned Counsel Program is seeking attorneys to sit on its 18-B panel for indigent defense clients. If you are interested in joining this panel, please call Assigned Counsel Coordinator Jill Dyer at 518-481-1423.



Public & Conflict Defender's Office

    The Franklin County Public and Conflict Defender's Offices represent individuals in local criminal courts, County Court, Supreme Court and Family Court. Neither office is a private law firm and may only represent individuals assigned by the Assigned Counsel Coordinator who have cases pending in Franklin County. Cases that cannot be assigned to the Public Defender's Office are assigned to the Conflict Defender's Office; this is done when there is a conflict of interest.

    Individuals who believe they may qualify for a free attorney must apply through the Office of the Assigned Counsel Coordinator located on the second floor of the County Courthouse.  It is important that you bring all court documents and verification of income when you apply.

    The Public and Conflict Defender's Offices do not handle civil cases, including divorces, landlord/tenant matters, or medical malpractice/personal injury claims, or credits and judgements.

Assigned Counsel Coordinator

    The Assigned Counsel Coordinator is responsible for accepting, reviewing and assigning cases to the Public or Conflict Defenders, or to the 18B Panel of private local attorneys. Case eligibility is based on the charge and the financial status of the applicant.

Public Defender
Thomas Soucia
355 West Main Street, Suite 237
Malone, NY 12953
Phone: 518-481-1624
Conflict Defender
Lorelei B. Smith Miller
355 West Main Street, Suite 252
Malone, NY 12953
Phone: 518-481-1593
Assigned Counsel Coordinator
Jill Dyer
355 West Main Street
Malone, NY, NY 12953
Phone: 518-481-1423
The Assigned Counsel Office is located next door to the Public Defender's Office.
How Do I Apply for a Public Defender?

Anyone seeking legal representation by a Public Defender must begin by filling out an application, which can be obtained from the Assigned Counsel Coordinator or downloaded from this Web site under the Documents link. Your case must be eligible for a Public Defender, and you must be financially eligible in order to be assigned a Public Defender.

Is my case eligible?

The following types of cases are eligible for representation by a Public Defender.


  • Any case that has jail as a possible sentence
  • Parole revocation hearings
  • Extradition
  • Crimes committed while in the custody of NYS Department of Corrections
  • Custody/Visitation by parents (no step-parents)
  • Visitation by grandparents (no step-grandparents)
  • Neglect- Respondents Only, including custodial parents
  • Support, but only for violation and only for respondent
  • Family offense for petitioner and respondent
  • Paternity, respondent only
  • JD/PINS; parents are eligible but only if the government wishes to take the children from the home or keep the children from returning home


    Cases that are NOT eligible

  • DWAI (driving while ability impaired), unlawful possession of marijuana
  • Unlawful possession of marijuana
  • Grand Jury

Am I Financially Eligible?

Eligibility is based on the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines. Please consider the following when determining if you are financially eligible:









































If you are unemployed but live with someone who brings in a form of income, that person's income must be included in your application.

If you are employed and living with another individual who is also bringing in an income, both incomes must be included in your application.




You must provide the following information to prove your income:



If you have a job, pay stubs for the last four (4) pay periods.

If you are unemployed, an Unemployment benefit letter

If you are receiving Public Assistance, a copy of Public Assistance award letter

If you are receiving Social Security benefits including SSI or SSD, copy of award letter.

If you are unemployed and have no source of income, provide a letter, signed by you and dated, and stating that you 1) Have no source of income; and 2) the name and relationship of the person supporting you.




You can find a template under documents which you can use to create this letter. This letter must be notarized as well, which can be done at the court house when you drop off your application. You can also find a Notary Public in a bank or in your local town or village office.

What Else Must I Submit With My Application?

Applicants must complete the entire application in full before it will be considered for assignment to an attorney. If the application is incomplete, it will be returned to you. In addition, the following information MUST be provided along with the application.



A copy of documentation detailing your charges, if you have been charged with a crime. These documents can include:



The charges or accusatory instrument


Violation of probation petition

Written statements or depositions of any witnessess




If you are applying for an attorney regarding a family matter, you must include a copy of your petition and summons with your application. The petition details the current issue being considered by the court, and the summons informs you when you should appear before the judge.

How Do I Know Who My Attorney Is?

If the Assigned Counsel Coordinator has determined that you are eligible for a Public Defender, your case will be assigned in one of three ways:


1. To the Public Defender's Office

2. To the Conflict Defender's Office

3. To a private attorney

Once your is assigned, you will receive a letter in the mail informing you to which office you have been assigned, which will be either the Public Defender's Office or Conflict Defender's Office. You must call the number provided immediately, and you will be assigned your attorney by the office. If you are assigned to a private attorney, your letter will inform you who that attorney is, as well as their phone number. If you are assigned to a private attorney, you must call the phone number provided immediately.


If you need to apply for a Public Defender, print out and complete this application. Carefully follow the instructions and provide all the information requested. In complete applications will be returned to you. 

Notarized Statement (DOC - 26.5 KB)

If as part of your application you must provide a notarized statement, you can print and fill out this template, which you then must have notarized. This can be done at the court house when you drop off your application, or at any bank or local town or village office.

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