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Approved ordinance defines ‘needy person’ in relation to public defender eligibility for Cheyenne Municipal Court

The definition was included in a new section to the City of Cheyenne's Municipal Code.

Courtesy of the City of Cheyenne

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Cheyenne’s Municipal Code now contains a section that defines a “needy” person in relation to those who qualify for public defender representation.

The City of Cheyenne’s governing body passed an amendment Monday night to add section 2.40.100, “Public Defender and Representation of Needy Persons,” to the “Municipal Court” chapter of Title 2, “Administration and Personnel.”

The new ordinance defines a “needy person” as someone who cannot fully pay for an attorney or any other necessary expenses “without prejudicing his or her financial ability to provide basic economic necessities for himself or herself, or his or her family, considering the person’s available funds and the anticipated cost of the attorney.”

Cheyenne’s Municipal Court will use the following parameters to determine whether individuals are “needy” in the eyes of the judicial system:

  • A person whose annual gross income is less than 125% of the current federally established poverty level for his or her immediate family unit will be considered needy.
  • A person whose annual gross income is between 125% and 218% of the current federally established poverty level for his or her immediate family unit may be deemed needy.
  • A person whose annual gross income is greater than 218% of the current federally established poverty level for his or her immediate family unit shall not be deemed needy under this section.

The city will determine if a defendant may be considered a “needy person” during their initial court appearance. The municipal court will appoint representation to a “needy person” who is facing a jailable offense if the defendant requests counsel or if the court orders the appointment.


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