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Public Defender Investigative Assistant

Salary: $16.11-$19.67 hourly / $2,802-$3,421 monthly / Range: 4906

DEFINITION: Under general supervision, performs a variety of paraprofessional criminal and civil investigative tasks; performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This is an entry-level classification, which receives supervision from the Public Defender Investigators. This class is distinguished from the Public Defender Investigator I in that the latter is a journey-level class responsible for conducting a full range of criminal and civil investigations, whereas the Public Defender Investigative Assistant assists in conducting investigations and performs the least complex and difficult assignments associated with investigating felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile cases.


1. Travels to facilities, such as hospitals or locked or psychiatric health facilities, within and outside Santa Barbara County to interview Public Defender clients who have been classified as gravely disabled; interviews clients and witnesses, such as facility staff, family members, and/or friends, with knowledge of Public Defender clients, to obtain information germane to the client's defense.
2. Interviews clients, suspects, law enforcement, relatives, and other witnesses to obtain statements, documents, and related factual evidence.
3. Researches information needed by investigators, attorneys, or others in support of legal cases.
4. Completes detailed written reports of interviews conducted and submits reports to responsible attorneys or investigators.
5. Assists investigators in select phases of investigation by conducting neighborhood canvasses; locating witnesses; gathering reports, documents, and records; obtaining police reports and tapes; and contacting incarcerated clients for signature.
6. Occasionally transports clients and witnesses.
7. Processes and serves documents such as legal motions, subpoenas, and orders.
8. Takes photographs of crime scenes, evidence, and other relevant items; prepares exhibits such as charts, graphs, and diagrams required for courtroom testimony.
9. Occasionally testifies in court.
10. Operates a variety of equipment, such as 35mm, video, and digital cameras.


1. Completion of an associate's degree that included 12 semester or 18 quarter units in behavioral and/or social sciences, criminology, administration of justice, or a closely related field; and one year of general interviewing experience; or,
2. a combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the employment standard listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Additional Qualifications: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License and the ability to work irregular hours, overtime, weekends, and holidays.

Basic Knowledge of: human behavior.

Knowledge of: standard English grammar and usage; interviewing principles and techniques; report writing; standard office software; research methods, including use of the Internet.

Ability to: work independently; understand and apply laws, rules, and written directions; establish and maintain effective working relationships; prepare complete and accurate narrative reports and records; conduct interviews with a variety of people from different socioeconomic backgrounds; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; maintain confidentiality; gather, analyze, correlate, and evaluate observed facts and evidence; learn and apply the rules of discovery and obligations of the defense; learn the functions and extent of authority of the Public Defender's Office.

Desirable Qualifications: Completion of the Defense Investigator's Training Academy, prior investigative experience, and the ability to speak and read Spanish is highly desirable.

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