State Appellate Public Defender

November 22, 2016

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment today of Eric Fredericksen to the position of State Appellate Public Defender (SAPD).

Fredericksen, who earned his law degree from the University of Idaho, had been interim SAPD since Sara Thomas left the agency in July to become administrative director of Idaho’s State Courts.

The SAPD oversees a legal staff that handles appeals for indigent defendants who have been convicted of felonies. In capital cases, where a death sentence is involved, the SAPD handles appeals from district court for post-conviction relief as well as direct appeals of convictions.

“Sara set a great example of leadership and professionalism in this position, and I’m confident that Eric will be just as successful as the new Appellate Public Defender,” Governor Otter said. “The SAPD does the underappreciated but necessary work of protecting the post-conviction constitutional rights of criminal defendants. By providing that legal representation, the SAPD helps ensure that the benefits of equal justice – including the right to appellate review – are extended to all our citizens.”

Fredericksen joined the Office of the State Appellate Public Defender after earning his law degree in 2002, working as a deputy and senior attorney before leaving the office in May 2012 to join a small private law firm. He returned to the office in September 2014 and was serving as chief of the SAPD’s Appellate Unit when Sara Thomas left to accept the job with the Idaho Courts.

Fredericksen has handled over 1,000 criminal appeals and is responsible for 89 published opinions.

“I am incredibly honored to be selected by Governor Otter to serve the State of Idaho as the SAPD,” he said. “I feel truly blessed to inherit a tremendous office of talented, hardworking attorneys and staff; I am excited to work with community leaders in advocating for the guarantees and protections contained in both the state and federal constitutions.”

Who We Are

The Idaho State Appellate Public Defender’s Office was created in 1998. The legislature recognized that the cost of providing appellate representation was an extraordinary burden on the counties of Idaho. “In order to reduce this burden, provide competent counsel but avoid paying high hourly rates to independent counsel to represent indigent defendants in appellate proceedings,” the legislature created the SAPD. See I.C. §19-868.

The SAPD provides appellate representation to indigent defendants who have been convicted of a felony in district court. The SAPD also provides appellate representation to petitioners in state felony post-conviction and habeas cases. In capital cases, where a defendant has been sentenced to death, the SAPD provides district court representation for post-conviction proceedings, as well as representation on appeal from both the denial of a post-conviction petition and the direct appeal from the judgment of conviction.

The SAPD strives to provide superb representation to all of its capital clients and all indigent defendants on appeal from a judgment of conviction or denial of a petition for post-conviction relief. The SAPD’s vision is “A better Idaho where the legal system treats each person with fairness and dignity.”

The State Appellate Public Defender, Eric Fredericksen, was appointed by Governor C.L. Butch Otter in November of 2016. The office has 23 full-time employees. The Capital Litigation Unit includes three attorneys, mitigation specialist, investigator, and one administrative assistant. The Appellate Unit has a Chief of the Appellate Unit, eleven staff attorneys, three legal assistants, and an office administrator.

Contact Information

Address: 322 East Front Street, Suite 570
                    Boise, ID 83702

Phone: (208) 334-2712

For information on full-time employment or internships/externships, email: