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Deputy Public Defender II

Company: County of Santa Barbara
Location: Santa Maria
Posted on: November 14, 2023

Job Description:

SALARY $102,719.70 - $123,855.96 Annually Bilingual allowance when applicable
The Public Defender's Office is accepting applications to fill two full-time Deputy Public Defender II vacancies in Santa Maria.

To be considered for the current vacancies, you must select the "Santa Maria" location on your application; however, you must be willing to travel to and willing to accept assignment in all locations (Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Lompoc). This position may be transferred to another primary location based on the needs of the department.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: Deputy Public Defender I/II/III/IV/Senior is a flexibly staffed series. Advancement within the series is dependent upon both seniority and performance.

The Deputy Public Defender II level incumbents are expected to further develop their litigation skills, and demonstrate competency in handling a variety of more serious cases (in terms of potential penalty for the client) in the trial courts. Typical duties may include: assignment to serious misdemeanor trials, juvenile court cases, or civil cases. Incumbents obtain significant jury trial experience. As the incumbents demonstrates competency at the II level, they may be assigned minor felony trials.

About the Department: The County of Santa Barbara Public Defender's Office represents people living in poverty and who have been traditionally marginalized from a holistic and client-centered perspective. We stand with our clients every day in many courtrooms and now Zoom rooms across Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, and Lompoc. Standing with our client includes bringing to bear resources of lawyers, legal office professionals, investigators, social workers, IT professionals, and others to craft the best defenses and most successful reentry plans that elevate our client's needs.

Public defenders in Santa Barbara County work every day with people living on the street, living with a lack of appropriate services, and living with a host of complex needs. We use the tools of litigation, trial, negotiation, diversion, and services-based solutions to assist our clients every day. We walk with adults and children into arraignments, misdemeanor, felony, trial, and advocate in mental health, veterans, and drug specialty courts to avoid the potentially lifelong and crushing aftermath of criminal cases, involuntary commitment, or unresponsive probate or conservatorship situations. We enhance public safety by holding the legal system to uphold the constitutional and statutory rights of our community and honor their spaces, stories, and struggles. We are an organization that grapples with issues of racial justice and equity to heal the past injustices that influence our community daily. Further, we work alongside community-based organizations to create more opportunities for restoration, healing, and the future success of our clients. The Department has a budget of approximately $22 million and a staff of approximately 120.

For more information about the Public Defender's Office, go to:

THE POSITION: Under direction, the selected candidate interviews, advises, and represents clients in authorized criminal and civil cases; structures and directs investigations; prepares trials, pleadings, and motions; tries cases before court and jury; effectively presents sentencing and disposition positions on behalf of clients; and performs related duties as required and appropriate.

The IDEAL CANDIDATE will have:

  • Experience appearing in Court; both in person and virtually;
  • Microsoft Office Excel, Word, Outlook, and Teams skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to operate specialized case management and tracking system software programs;
  • Strong conflict resolution skills;
  • Excellent customer service skills and experience working with the public;
  • The ability to effectively manage multiple situations occurring simultaneously;
  • Exceptional organization skills and ability to work efficiently on multiple projects at one time;
  • The ability to prepare and write clear and concise motions, and keep records organized accordingly;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain sound working relationships with people of diverse backgrounds and personalities;
  • Adaptability, a positive attitude, and an impeccable character;
  • Calm demeanor under all circumstances;
  • The ability to work independently, organize and prioritize work, and meet critical deadlines;
  • The ability to multi-task, handle high stress situations, thrive under pressure and adapt to change;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to handle difficult situations and difficult people with tact and diplomacy;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills which includes the ability to exchange information in a clear, concise and organized manner to diverse groups of people to help them understand process objectives and priorities;
  • The ability to work successfully in a team environment, make positive contributions and assist others as necessary;
  • The ability to tackle complex legal issues using sound judgment, legal research, investigative practices and analytical skills;
  • The ability to maintain confidentiality;
  • Bilingual skills in English & Spanish and/or Mixteco is desirable, but not a requirement. Note: The hiring department will test you on your fluency.

    Examples of Duties
  • Interviews clients regarding prospective criminal or civil actions and advises them of their rights and legal options; structures and directs investigations; reviews evidence; interviews witnesses and prepares them to testify.
  • Conducts legal research; analyzes statutes, case law, evidence, and other relevant information in order to develop case strategies.
  • Prepares for trials; negotiates with prosecuting authorities on disposition and modification of cases; appears with and for clients in court hearings, makes appropriate legal motions, pleas, and arguments on points of law; participates in jury selection; makes final arguments and summations in defense of the accused in trial courts.
  • Prepares petitions, briefs, arguments, motions, pleadings, other legal instruments, reports, and correspondence, and argues in the appropriate forum.

    Employment Standards
    Active membership in the State Bar of California AND possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License; AND not less than:

  • One year of experience as an attorney in the practice of public law or two years as a general practicing attorney; OR,
  • One year of experience performing duties equivalent to the class of Deputy Public Defender I with Santa Barbara County; OR,
  • A combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the employment standard listed above and that provides the required knowledge, abilities, and license. Knowledge of: the principles of criminal and civil law and their application; legal research methods; the organization, powers, and limitations of county governmental functions; California civil and criminal codes; the U.S. and California Constitutions; rules of evidence, trial procedures; administrative law; ethical and professional rules of conduct; negotiating techniques.

    Ability to: perform legal research; analyze and apply legal principles and precedents, facts, and evidence to legal problems; present statements of law, facts, and arguments clearly, logically, and effectively, in both written and oral format; work cooperatively with and represent persons from a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds; maintain confidentiality and objectivity; work effectively with others, often under stressful conditions; manage a caseload; interview witnesses; negotiate settlements; present and conduct trials; understand and apply policies and practices.

    Desirable Qualifications: The ability to read, write, and converse fluently in English and Spanish and/or Mixteco is desirable. Note: You must self-certify on the application form that you are fluent in English and Spanish and/or Mixteco. Hiring departments will test you on your fluency. If you do not demonstrate sufficient fluency, your name may be withheld from future certifications or removed from the employment lists.
    Supplemental Information

  • Review applications and supplemental questionnaires to determine those applicants who meet the employment standards.
  • Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking: Applications that meet the employment standards will be evaluated and scored. Candidates' final score and rank on the eligibility list will be determined by the information provided on their application. This includes the responses to the required supplemental questionnaire. This process may be eliminated if there are fewer than 12 qualified candidates. Candidates must receive a percentage score of at least 70 on the Supplemental Questionnaire Ranking examination to be placed on an employment list. An adjustment may be made to raw scores based on factors listed in Civil Service Rule VI. Those candidates who are successful in the selection process will have their names placed on the employment list for a minimum of three months. At the time the employment list is established, all qualified candidates will receive an email notice of their score on the exam(s), rank on the employment list, and exact duration of the employment list.

    REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS: The County of Santa Barbara is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to applicants. Qualified individuals with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation during the application or selection process should contact the recruiter listed on the job posting. We require verification of needed accommodation from a professional source, such as a Medical Provider or a learning institution.

    Recruiters will correspond with applicants by e-mail during each step in the recruitment process. Applicants are reminded to check spam filters continuously during the Recruitment & Selection Process steps listed above to ensure they do not miss required deadlines.

    Conditional Job Offer: Once a conditional offer of employment has been made, the candidate will be required to successfully complete a background check, which includes a conviction history check, and satisfactory reference checks. Appointee will be subject to a post-offer medical evaluation or examination. The appointee must satisfactorily complete a probationary period of one year.

    BENEFITS: The County of Santa Barbara offers generous benefits. Click here for more information on County benefits for this job classification. In addition, applicants from other public sector employers may qualify for:

  • Retirement reciprocity
  • Time and service credit towards an advanced vacation accrual rate
    Disaster Service Worker: Pursuant to Governmental Code section 3100, all employees with the County of Santa Barbara are declared to be disaster service workers subject to such disaster service. Activities as may be assigned to them by their superiors or by law.

    Statement of Commitment
    The County of Santa Barbara is dedicated to cultivating and sustaining an environment that exhibits equity and inclusion everywhere, and at all levels of our organization. The County believes equity is a fundamental principle that must be imbedded in policies, institutional practices and systems. The County recognizes the negative impacts of systemic racism and is committed to eliminating the barriers affecting our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian community members, as well as people of other diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. We envision a world where society and its systems (e.g. education, criminal justice, and health care, housing the economy) are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential.

    We celebrate community and employee diversity, strive for inclusion and belonging, and promote empowered participation. We aspire to build a workforce that is reflective of these values and the communities we serve. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and will resolutely uphold federal, California state law and/or Santa Barbara County ordinances.

    We believe equity and inclusion are vital to fulfill the County's mission and to embody a culture of "One County, One Future." Expanding the full range of employee talent allows the County to deliver our best to all our community members.

    We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity.

    APPLICATION AND SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONNAIRE DEADLINE: 10/03/2023; 4:59PM PST; postmarks not accepted. Applications and job bulletins can be obtained 24 hours a day at

    Erin Kuhn, Employment Analyst -

Keywords: County of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria , Deputy Public Defender II, Other , Santa Maria, California

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