Public Defenders get award for 50 years of service

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Lawyers from around the state have been in Fairbanks this year for the annual Alaska Bar Convention. This years convention was held at the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks.

Today was the last day of the meeting and the Fairbanks Public Defenders Agency was honored for it's 50 years of service in Alaska. Public Defenders at the event gathered for a group photo, and the interim public defender accepted the award.

Mike Schwaiger, an assistant public defender in Anchorage says that many of their clients have difficulties in life other than the criminal accusation that they are facing.

"They have no advocate, they have no family or friends who can stand up for them. So we make sure that justice is served by putting the state through the process of going to trial and ensuring there is a just sentence if there is a conviction," Schwaiger said.

The defense attorneys at the public defender's office provide free legal defense to people who can't afford their own attorney.