Who we are and what we do: We are the Indigent Appellate Defense Division, known as "IADD." Our office was established by the legislature in 2020 in response to a recognition by the legislature that access to counsel was limited throughout most of the state for many people needing to pursue their constitutional right to appeal a conviction. Initially, IADD was tasked with providing appellate representation for people in the third through sixth class counties wanting to appeal their convictions.  Those counties span much of the State outside of the Wasatch Front. Since that time, IADD’s responsibilities have grown and now also include representing parents on appeal from across the entire state who have had their parental rights terminated and representing people in the postconviction process pursuing a chance to have their convictions overturned.

IADD attorneys have decades of experience and have represented clients in Utah courts at every level. Many of our attorneys have appeared as speakers and panelists at both national and local trainings.  As an office, IADD has hosted an annual multi-day training that has attracted hundreds of attendees and featured local and national speakers committed to improving the criminal legal system.

Mission Statement

IADD is dedicated to protecting and defending the rights and dignity of each of our clients through zealous, compassionate, and client-centered advocacy. The goal of the office is to ensure delivery throughout the state—at all stages—of indigent defense services that do not merely meet the Strickland constitutional standard for effective assistance but provide all clients the highest quality of representation they deserve.

"Public defenders do not get to pick their clients. They have to represent whoever comes in. It is a service. That is what you do as a public defender and you are standing up for the constitution and the value of representation."
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

Attention law students: IADD is always looking to hire students as law clerks who are interested in learning more about appellate indigent defense, parental rights, and postconviction representation. Law clerks have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with our case work. Interested students should email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample. Materials can be sent to the section of interest:

Criminal appeals (adult or youth): iadd@utah.gov
Postconviction: iadd.postconviction@utah.gov
Child welfare/parental rights appeals: iadd.childwelfare@utah.gov

General Information

IADD's capabilities: IADD can only represent a person and provide legal assistance or advice in cases where our office has been appointed by a court. Below is some general guidance to assist people in navigating the criminal legal system:

  1. If you have been charged with a crime and your case is pending: You have a constitutional right to an attorney and all questions should be directed to your attorney. IADD does not represent people at the trial level.
  2. If you have been convicted following a trial: You have the right to an appeal with the assistance of counsel. A notice of appeal has to be filed within 30 days of being sentenced. (There are a few exceptions). A notice of appeal is a short document, 1-2 pages, that informs the court that a person wants to appeal. It should be filed in the district court where a person was convicted. IADD can provide representation for appeals from the third through sixth class counties, and a person who is indigent is guaranteed the appointment of counsel. If a notice of appeal has been filed in a case from a county within IADD's responsibilities, an attorney will be contacting you.
  3. If you were convicted and had an appeal denied: You can attempt to pursue relief in postconviction. The time limits for postconviction can be a little confusing, click here for the relevant rules and here for the relevant code. General guidance is a petition for postconviction relief has to be filed within one year from the end of your appeal.  There is no right to counsel for postconviction. If a person cannot hire an attorney, any postconviction petition must be filed without an attorney. At that time, a person can ask the court to appoint counsel. That decision is within the discretion of the court. A petition for postconviction relief must be filed in the same court where the conviction occurred. At this time, IADD cannot represent anyone in postconviction until after an initial petition has been filed and then only if a court appoints our office.
  4. If you went to trial, were convicted, and did not appeal: You can pursue relief through the postconviction process, as discussed above in #3.
  5. If you were convicted following a guilty plea: Under Utah law, a guilty plea cannot be withdrawn once a person has been sentenced. Once sentenced after a guilty plea, a person can file an appeal (see above for guidance on filing a notice of appeal). But an appeal following a guilty plea can only challenge the legality of the sentence (which is mainly limited to if the sentence exceeds the allowable maximum). All other challenges must be pursued in postconviction. (See paragraph 3 above discussing postconviction). For example, if a person believes a guilty plea was unconstitutional because it was not knowing or voluntary, that claim cannot be raised in an appeal and can only be pursued in postconviction. If there is no appeal, general guidance is to file a petition for postconviction relief within one year of being sentenced after a guilty plea. If there was an appeal following a guilty plea, general guidance is to file a petition for postconviction relief within one year from the end of the appeal.

Additional Services for Defenders

Helpful Links