NC Superior Courts, original image © Michael Brady
© Michael Brady

Welcome to the UNC School of Government's
Indigent Defense Manual Series!

The North Carolina Indigent Defense Manual Series is a collection of reference manuals addressing law and practice in areas in which indigent defendants and respondents are entitled to representation of counsel at state expense. The series was created to address the need for comprehensive reference materials for public defenders and appointed counsel, who devote their time, skill, and effort to representing poor people. In addition to assisting indigent defenders with their responsibilities, the manuals may be useful to others who work in the court system and need a reference source on the law. In keeping with the School of Government’s commitment to practical scholarship, the manuals are written by authors with subject-matter expertise in their respective fields, experience in developing effective educational materials, and knowledge of how things work in practice. We recently expanded the series to add Indigent Defense Practice Guides, which are primers on specific areas of criminal law and procedure.

Production of the series is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, which is responsible for overseeing and enhancing the provision of indigent defense representation in North Carolina. The editor of the series is John Rubin, a member of the School of Government faculty who specializes in indigent defense education.

There are several ways to find what you need:

Drop down menus. A navigation bar for the manuals appears at the top of the page. To explore a manual, move your mouse to the navigation bar and a drop down menu with chapters will appear. Move your mouse to the right of a chapter name and sections appear (in manuals beginning in 2011, which have been separated into sections).

Searching. Use the “Indigent Defense Manuals Search” box for a text search of the entire series. If you want to search one or more specific manuals, click on search "a specific manual."

Sections. The Section box to the right displays the sections in the chapter that you're viewing. Click on the link to jump to that section. When viewing a section, you can jump to the full chapter by following the bread crumb trail above the document.

Related content. When you are viewing a section of a manual, the Related Content box displays other chapters and sections within other chapters to which the current section refers. Click on the link to jump to that chapter or section.

The Indigent Defense Manual series is designed for online use; however, you may download or print out portions for your personal use. The manuals are available for purchase as soft-bound books from the School's online bookstore

Thanks go to the Information Technology division of the School of Government for creating this site and to my colleague, Jessica Smith, for developing the initial version of this technology for superior court judges.

If you have questions or suggestions about the Indigent Defense Manual Series, contact John Rubin at