The California Legislature created the Office of the State Public Defender in 1976 to represent indigent criminal defendants on appeal. The office was formed in response to the need for consistent, high-quality representation of defendants in the state appellate courts. Over the years, the mission of the agency has changed. Now, the Office of the State Public Defender focuses its resources on post-conviction appellate representation in death penalty cases. The agency currently represents more than 130 men and women on death row in California. Thank you for stopping by.