Public Defender

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 Executive Office Building
10 N. Fitzhugh Street
Rochester, NY 14614
 Public Defender, Julie Cianca

 Phone: 585 753-4210
 Fax: 585 753-4234
 [email protected]

Description of the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office

The Monroe County Public Defender’s Office is an office that provides legal representation to individuals in criminal court and family court proceedings who are unable to afford to hire an attorney, also known as indigent individuals. The Public Defender’s Office is a branch of the Monroe County Government that was founded to fulfill the constitutional obligation of each county in New York State to provide indigent legal defense. 

Guided by the requirements of the constitutions of the United States and of New York and the New York rules of legal ethics, the attorneys and staff of this office strive to ensure that each client receives high quality and zealous representation. Throughout its history, the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office has focused on a client-centered representation model.

The Monroe County Public Defender’s Office represents clients in the following types of cases:

  • Criminal Court Bureaus (Town Court Bureau, City Court Bureau, Non-Violent Felony Bureau, Violent Felony Bureau): We represent defendants who have matters pending criminal courts.  We represent defendants in criminal proceedings in town, village, city, county, and supreme Courts.  
  • Family Court Bureau: We represent indigent litigants in Family Court on cases involving custody, visitation, family offenses, abuse, neglect, paternity and allegations of willful violations of court orders. 
  • Appeals Bureau: We represent individuals on appeal of criminal convictions and sentences, orders affecting parental rights, and sex offender risk level classifications as well as in other post-conviction state court proceedings.

The Monroe County Public Defender’s Office staff engages in teaching and training of attorneys around the state, and has been recognized for those efforts with the Monroe County Bar Association Raymond J. Pauley Award. 

At the Monroe County Public Defender's Office (MCPDO), our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is intricately woven into our mission as champions of justice and advocates for the indigent. Our dedication to these core principles shapes our approach to legal representation and defines our role as leaders within the legal community.

The Monroe County Public Defender

The Public Defender is appointed by the Monroe County Legislature for a two-year term.  The current Public Defender is Julie A. Cianca, Esq.

Job opportunities

The Monroe County Public Defender’s Office is now hiring for the following positions:

For other open positions, please see the Monroe County Civil Service page.

Legal Internship Opportunities

The Monroe County Public Defender’s Office offers internships during school semesters as well as a summer internship program for law school students.  Interns involved in Fall and Spring semester internships will work directly with an Assistant Public Defender to assist with legal research, drafting legal motions, and preparing for criminal hearings and trials.  Interns involved in the Summer Legal Internship Program will engage in a two-month program that includes legal research, hearing and trial preparation, trainers on New York State criminal law and trial practice, and the possibility to make appearances in court pursuant to a New York State Judicial Practice Order.

Internships are also available during the fall, spring, and summer semesters for current undergraduate and high school students.

We are currently excepting applications for Fall 2024 Internship Cohort

Students interested in participating in an internship with our office can submit their resume and a cover letter by email to Internship Committee Chair, Vincent I. French, MAT, CAS  ([email protected]). 

Contact Us

The Monroe County Public Defender’s Office is located at 10 North Fitzhugh Street, Rochester, N.Y. 14614, second floor.  The phone number is 585.753.4210.  You may email the office at [email protected].