DEFINITION: Under general administrative direction, to plan,
organize and direct the legal activities and services of the Public
Defender's Office; and to do related work as required.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This is an at-will department head
class. The incumbent is exempt from Civil Service and serves at the
pleasure of the Board of Supervisors and County Administrator. This
position is responsible for the administration and direction of a
staff engaged in the defense of persons who are not financially able
to employ counsel and who are charged with the commission of
contempt or offenses triable in the Superior, Municipal, and Justice
Courts, or who are parties to certain other specified civil actions.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES: Plans, organizes, and directs a program for
providing legal counsel and representation to eligible persons
accused of criminal offenses; formulates and applies policies
related to the Public Defender's Office; assigns criminal calendar
to appropriate staff members; consults with staff on the conduct of
cases in progress and gives advice and assistance as necessary;
reviews and evaluates completed staff work; discusses the public
defense program with judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials,
and other persons to obtain information and possible action relative
to defendants; personally appears in court as defense attorney of
major and other cases or at arraignment to obtain first-hand
knowledge of cases going to court; confers with office staff on
clerical problems, record keeping, and reporting systems, and
initiates changes as required; prepares and administers departmental
budget; dictates correspondence and prepares reports.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS: Active membership in the State Bar of
1. Broad, extensive, and progressively responsible administrative
experience as an attorney in criminal law; or,
2. equivalent combination of training, education, and experience
would provide the required knowledge, abilities, and license.
Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License.
Knowledge of: philosophy and practice of public defense in the
United States; duties, powers, limitations, and responsibility of
the Public Defender's Officer; methods and problems of administering
the work of a governmental law office; legal principles and their
application with emphasis on criminal law; rules of evidence and the
conduct of court proceedings; legal research methods; principles of
personnel management and supervision.
Ability to: supervise investigations and defend criminal complaints
and civil actions; analyze difficult and complex legal problems and
apply legal principles and practices; present statements of fact,
law, and argument clearly and logically in written and oral form;
draft legal instruments and opinions; perform legal research; win
the confidence and respect of members of the legal profession,
public officials, and other persons contacted in the work.