Under administrative direction, plans, organizes and supervises the operations of a Criminal Division within the Office of the Public Defender; defends complex cases; serves as a member of the department’s management team.
This class is characterized by the combination of management duties and responsibilities, and the performance of defense duties involving highly complex and sensitive criminal/civil cases. This class is distinguished from the Public Defender in that the latter is a Board appointed position and is responsible for the direction of the entire department.
Depending on assignment, duties may include but are not limited to the following:
1. Manages the operations of a major criminal division; prepares, justifies and submits budget requests to the Department Head; monitors division expenditures; develops operational procedures; supervises division staff; assists the Public Defender in carrying out policy or development of policy.
2. Maintains liaison with administrators and representatives of the Superior Courts, Probation Department, District Attorney Department, Sheriffs Department, local law enforcement agencies and judges; may make presentations to community groups upon request.
3. Communicates goals and objectives and encourages accomplishment; conducts staff training; reviews, monitors and assigns casework; participates in final selection of employees; evaluates performance; recognizes performance and achievement levels; recommends promotions, staff reassignments or discipline as appropriate and necessary.
4. Reviews incoming cases for attorney assignment and monitors attorneys' caseloads; evaluates evidence and circumstances; conducts legal research; prepares cases for preliminary hearings, trials and conferences; appears in court to defend cases; maintains currency with civil and criminal law.
5. Coordinates inter-division activities; ensures proper maintenance and security of facility and inventory; may be assigned additional administrative and/or managerial duties.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
Extensive knowledge of California Penal code; Evidence Code; legal research and court procedures; policies and operations of a Public Defender’s Office; effective defense techniques.
Considerable knowledge of management, public administration and personnel practices; court staffing requirements; effective supervisory practices; effective public relations methods and practices.
Ability to plan, organize and supervise criminal defense operations; read, apply and interpret laws and procedures; supervise other attorneys engaged in defense of cases; assign cases effectively through case assessment and evaluation of knowledge/experience of staff; assist in formulating and communicating department policy, goals and objectives; provide training and consultative supervision to professional staff; organize and prioritize work assignments; interpret administrative direction and incorporation into operational policy and procedure; maintain confidentiality of information; work effectively with others who have objectives counter to assigned role; communicate with people of various socio-economic levels and temperaments; interview people to elicit required information, effectively delegate responsibility and authority to others; properly prepare witnesses for trial appearances; prepare clear and concise oral and written legal presentations; defends highly complex civil and criminal cases; assist with preparation of department budget; monitor expenditures; develop and maintain cooperative working relationships; make decisions and independent judgments; project consequences of decisions; demonstrate tact and diplomacy.
Education and Experience
Minimum of five (5) years experience in criminal defense which demonstrates possession of and competency in requisite knowledge and abilities.
Candidates must be an active member of the State Bar Association in good standing.
Possession of or ability to obtain a valid Class C California driver’s license may be required.
Independent travel will be required.
Positions allocated to this class are exempt from the provisions of the County’s Civil Service ordinances. Incumbents are hired and retained at the pleasure of the appointing authority.
Candidates for positions in this class will be required to pass a background investigation in accordance with applicable law, regulation and/or policy.
Incumbents may be required to work outside normal business hours.