§ 802-9. Defender council
The governor shall appoint a defender council consisting of five members, who shall serve at the governor’s pleasure. There shall be at least one member from each of the counties of the State. The chairperson of the council shall be selected by its members. Each member shall serve without pay and shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred while attending meetings and while in the discharge of the member’s responsibilities. The council shall be the governing body of the office of the state public defender.
§ 802-11. Appointment of state public defender
The state public defender shall be appointed by the defender council without regard to chapters 76 and 89. The state public defender’s appointment shall be for a term of four years except as otherwise provided herein, and until the state public defender’s successor is appointed and qualified. The state public defender shall be qualified to practice law before the supreme court of this State. Effective July 1, 2005, the state public defender shall be paid a salary set at eighty-seven per cent of the attorney general. The state public defender shall devote full time to the performance of the state public defender’s duties and shall not engage in the general practice of law.
§ 802-12. Organization of office; assistance
Subject to the approval of the defender council, the state public defender may employ assistant state public defenders and other employees, including investigators, as may be necessary to discharge the function of the office. Assistant state public defenders shall be qualified to practice before the supreme court of this State. Assistant state public defenders shall be appointed without regard to chapter 76 and shall serve at the pleasure of the state public defender. All other employees may be appointed in accordance with chapter 76. An assistant state public defender may be employed on a part-time basis, and when so employed, the assistant public defender may engage in the general practice of law, other than in the practice of criminal law.
The Office of the Public Defender is the largest criminal defense organization in the State of Hawai`i.