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Private Counsel Division
The Private Counsel Division of CPCS delivers legal services to indigent clients through assigned private attorneys in criminal defense trial and post-conviction cases as well as commitment and registration cases for persons convicted of sex offenses. Our mission is to provide excellent legal services to each and every client by assuring that all assigned attorneys possess the skills they need through experience or training, meet high standards of performance and have ready access to mentoring, supervision and continuing legal education. To support this effort CPCS also provides consulting attorneys with expertise in trial skills, post-conviction matters, immigration law, forensic evidence and expert witnesses, community resources and sex offender registration. The CPCS Private Counsel division welcomes feedback about our service from clients and from assigned attorneys.
Public Defender Division
The mission of the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is to ensure that criminal defendants are given the fundamental protection of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Massachusetts Constitution. We believe that every defendant should not only receive zealous advocacy but respect and dignity as they deal with the potential loss of their liberty.
The Public Defender Division is committed to meeting the needs of clients in Massachusetts in all their diversity. We are dedicated to providing zealous advocacy, community oriented defense and protection of fundamental constitutional and human rights.Our staff encompasses a broad range of human differences and abilities including but not limited to: age, ethnicity, gender, geographic origin, race, faith, religion, and progressive values; and are committed to utilize them to best serve our clients.
Children and Family Law
The Children and Family Law (CAFL) Division provides legal representation to children and indigent parents in child welfare matters, including care and protection proceedings, children requiring assistance cases (CRAs), actions to terminate parental rights, state agency-sponsored guardianships, and any other child custody proceeding where the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is a party or where the court is considering granting custody to DCF. In Massachusetts, both children and indigent parents have a right to representation by counsel in child welfare cases. See G. L. c. 119, § 29 and Dep’t of Public Welfare v. J.K.B., 379 Mass. 1 (1979). Representation is provided by a panel of private court appointed attorneys and by staff attorneys in offices throughout the state.
The Youth Advocacy Division is tasked with ensuring that every child in Massachusetts has access to zealous legal representation that incorporates a Youth Development Approach resulting in both legal and life success. Accordingly, YAD will lead, train, support, and oversee a diverse and collaborative juvenile defense bar across the state. Through individual representation and systemic advocacy, YAD also will partner with community organizations and local agencies to work toward creating safer and healthier communities.
Mental Health Litigation
The Mental Health Litigation Division provides attorneys for civil commitment proceedings in the District Courts and the Boston Municipal Court as well as attorneys in the Probate and Family Courts for guardianships, substituted judgment proceedings, and cases involving the validation of health care proxies. Civil commitments are handled by both panel attorneys and staff attorneys, while all of the cases in Probate Court are handled by private panel attorneys.