Chapter 10: Judiciary-Related Offices
Federal Defender Office
The Federal Defender Office provides counsel to persons charged with federal criminal
offenses who are financially unable to obtain adequate private representation.
Adjacency and Circulation
The preferred location of the Federal Defender is outside the courthouse. If located
within the courthouse, the Federal Defender requires public access but to a lesser
degree than other judiciary-related offices with public counters.
Since the Federal Defender Office essentially functions as an independent law office, it
must be readily accessible to clients during and after normal working hours and must
provide the appearance of a dignified and professional law office. The office requires
public access to its reception area; restricted access for office staff must be provided
during both day and evening hours.
Whether located inside the courthouse or not, the Federal Defender Office must be
distanced from the Office of the U.S. Attorney, USMS, U.S. Probation Office,
Pretrial Services Office, Bureau of Prisons, and any other law enforcement agency as
described in 18 U.S.C. 1114. This separation is important due to the different role the
Federal Defender plays in the legal process.
The following areas are unique to the Federal Defender Office:
Video room with tape storage
Acoustically-isolated room for 12 people to listen to audio tape recordings
that are often indistinct
Secure rooms for the storage of returned exhibits and personal property
belonging to incarcerated clients
Secure LAN equipment room
Audio Tape Listening/Auxiliary Conference Room. In this room, groups of people
listen to evidentiary audio tape recordings. To achieve a good listening environment,