Eric Fredericksen to lead new Office of the State Public Defender

Wednesday September 20, 2023

Boise, Idaho - Governor Brad Little has appointed Eric Fredericksen as State Public Defender to lead the newly created Office of the State Public Defender (SPD).

The new State Public Defender position is the result of property tax relief legislation Governor Little signed in 2022. House Bill 735a in 2022 provided immediate and ongoing property tax relief to all Idahoans by reducing county property taxes by the annual amount counties spent on public defense and transferring the ongoing cost of providing indigent public defense to the state.

To carry out the transition, Governor Little signed House Bill 236 this year which created the new state office which will be responsible for public defense services.

Fredericksen has been practicing attorney for more than 20 years. He has served as the State Appellate Public Defender (SAPD) since his appointment by Governor Butch Otter in 2016 and was twice reappointed to that position by Governor Little. The SAPD is a separate office that provides appellate public defense services. Previously, he was Chief of the Appellate Unit and a Lead Attorney at the SAPD. He also worked as an associate attorney at Brady Law in Boise, where he practiced civil and criminal litigation. Since 2016 he has served as the Vice-Chair of the Idaho State Public Defense Commission and on several Idaho Supreme Court committees. From 2019 until July of this year, he served as the Chairman of the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission, the Governor’s standing criminal justice policy advisory body. Fredericksen is a member of the National Association of Public Defenders, Idaho Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Idaho State Bar Association. Fredericksen is licensed to practice law in Idaho state and federal courts as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court. He was raised and educated in Jerome and is the son of Gene and Judi Fredericksen, a respected lawyer and a beloved high school English teacher, respectively. Fredericksen received a bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho.

As SPD, Fredericksen will work with county officials and public defenders statewide to carry out the transition. The new office begins providing indigent defense services on October 1, 2024. Fredericksen’s immediate responsibilities will include establishing statewide public defense standards and policies, hiring transition staff, procuring a statewide case management system, onboarding employed and contract public defenders, and facilitating the appointment of district leadership in each of Idaho’s seven judicial districts.

"I am humbled and appreciative of Governor Little’s appointment to this position. Over the last decade, Idaho has become a leader and innovator in providing indigent defense services. Although I am saddened to leave the talented and dedicated attorneys and staff at the SAPD, I am excited to lead and support the exceptional trial defenders we have throughout Idaho," Fredericksen said.

The appointment is effective September 25, 2023.