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The Public Defense Services Commission (PDSC) is an independent body that governs the Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS). The chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court appoints the seven commission members to four year terms. The commission's primary charge is to establish "a public defense system that ensures the provision of public defense services in the most cost efficient manner consistent with the Oregon Constitution, the United States Constitution and Oregon and national standards of justice[.]" The current chair is Barnes Ellis, Portland.
The PDSC appoints the executive director for OPDS. The OPDS has two divisions: Contract and Business Services (CBS) and the Appellate Division (AD), formerly known as the State Public Defender.
CBS is responsible for administering the public defense contracts that provide legal representation for financially eligible persons in criminal, civil commitment and juvenile proceedings, and for processing requests and payments for non-contract fees and expenses. Contracts provide trial-level representation and appellate representation on cases not handled by AD.
AD is the appellate arm of OPDS. The division provides constitutionally mandated representation in the appellate courts to financially eligible persons in misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses, including capital offenses, parents in juvenile dependency cases, and inmates appealing administrative decisions from the State Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision.