Under general direction, organizes and leads and participates in the practice of criminal/civil law in the defense of individuals accused of violating state and/or local laws; performs related duties as required; participates as a member of the department's management/supervisory team.
Positions allocated to this class are characterized by the responsibility to lead others and perform difficult assignments involving complex factual and legal issues. Assignments may include primary operational responsibility for felony and misdemeanor cases. This class is distinguished from Chief Deputy Public Defender in that the latter is responsible for supervising the operations of a Legal Division.
Examples of Duties
Assigns and leads the work of subordinate attorneys in the preparation, presentation and, if necessary, the appeal of criminal cases; advises and counsels attorneys on available options or strategies to accomplish assigned tasks; supervises assigned support staff; is accountable for the effectiveness and efficiency of a major legal division within the offices of one of the Public Defenders.
Checks questions of law and counsels attorneys on defense strategy; reviews, assigns and evaluates disposition of difficult and politically sensitive cases; reviews felony cases filed to determine quality of case and assign deputy; refers policy questions to the Department Head.
Maintains liaison between staff, judges, law enforcement officials and prosecutors to discuss and resolve procedural problems affecting assigned unit; assists Department Head in the development and implementation of operational policy and procedure and/or other administrative matters.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
Thorough knowledge of criminal law, rules of evidence, trial procedures, legal principles and research methods; effective techniques in dealing with difficult, confused or hostile clients; interviewing techniques; techniques,and policies used for providing clients with legal defense representation.
Ability to interview people and solicit needed information to determine facts/circumstances; develop effective defense strategies; analyze cases and apply legal principles; present statements of law clearly and logically in written or verbal form; present an effective defense in court; manage assigned caseload; learn and apply knowledge of sciences pertinent to caseload (e.g., fingerprints, blood chemistry); develop and maintain an effective attorney/client relationship with people of various socio-economic backgrounds and temperaments; investigate sentencing alternatives; communicate effectively both verbally and in writing with clients, witnesses, judges, attorneys and employees of various agencies and departments; demonstrate patience, tact, courtesy and compassion.
Education and Experience
A minimum of one year of criminal defense and trial experience as a Deputy Public Defender IV or its equivalent which demonstrates possession of and competency in requisite knowledge and abilities. Seven years of experience in the general practice of law may be substituted for the four years criminal law experience.
Active membership in the California State Bar Association is required.
Possession of or ability to obtain a valid Class C California driver's license may be required.