Public Defender

Chief Public Defender Robert F. Bernathy


About the Office

The Public Defender Act provides for the establishment of a Public Defender for each county. The Public Defender is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners for each county. With the approval of the Board of County Commissioners, the Public Defender may hire assistant public defenders, investigators, and other personnel deemed necessary to the performance of his job.

The Public Defender and Assistant Public Defenders shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice before the Supreme and Superior Courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


The Public Defender must represent any person whose indigency prevents them from obtaining counsel for the following proceedings:
  • Juvenile delinquency proceedings

  • Critical pretrial identification proceedings

  • State habeas corpus proceedings

  • Common Pleas Court Trial, from pre-trial motions through post-trial motions

  • Superior Court and Pennsylvania Supreme Court appeals

  • Post conviction proceedings at both the trial and appellate levels

  • Preliminary hearings

  • Criminal extradition proceedings

  • Mental health proceedings

  • PFA contempt hearings

  • Probation and parole proceedings, including revocation

  • Probation and parole proceedings, including revocation

  • Any other situation where representation is constitutionally required.

    Indigency is determined by the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Applications should include proof of employment and earnings for the household.

    Application for Public Defender representation must be made IN PERSON (mailed applications are not acceptable) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. only.


  • Office Info

    Hours M-F 8:30 - 4:30
    Phone 570-296-5266
    Fax 570-296-3566
    Internal Extension 1260
    Address 102 East John St.
    Suite 1
    Milford, PA 18337