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Public Defender

The Law Office of the Public Defender

The mission of the Public Defender’s Office is to protect the right, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to it by providing the finest legal representation in court. Its clients are accused of offenses ranging from traffic and misdemeanor charges to murder.


The office is normally open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; however, the nature of the work often demands more than a forty-hour week.

How do I get a Public Defender?

The Public Defender is appointed by a judge for people who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. At your first court appearance, the court will have you fill out an Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities to see if you are financially able to hire a private attorney. It is up to the judge to determine whether or not the Public Defender will be appointed. If you are in custody, the Public Defender is usually appointed unless private counsel has already been retained. If you have retained counsel but are unable to afford his or her continued representation, inform the court as soon as possible that you would like a Public Defender.

Is the Public Defender a real attorney?

Yes, Public Defenders are real attorneys just like the ones you go out and pay for. The only difference is the Public Defender is paid for by the taxpayers in Bureau County.

The Public Defender and Assistant Public Defenders are all part-time employees of the Public Defender’s Office. Each Public Defender has their own private law firm.

Where can I complete my community service hours?

Great Non-Profits is a helpful resource for those seeking opportunities to fulfill their community service requirements.

Our Staff

  • Eric M. May, Public Defender
  • Bradley P. Popurella, First Assistant Public Defender
  • Timothy R. Gatza, Assistant Public Defender
  • Megan M. Fitzgerald, Assistant Public Defender
  • Kris A. Ferrari, Legal Assistant


Opening hours

  • Sunday
  • Monday
    8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Tuesday
    8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Wednesday
    8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Thursday
    8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Friday
    8:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Saturday