The Office of the Public Defender was established in the County of Sacramento in 1948. We provide quality legal representation and/or advice to any individual financially unable to employ counsel in adult criminal, juvenile delinquency, mental conservatorship, appropriate family law, and probate cases. Providing the defense of over 30,000 cases, our staff consists of over 145 employees, organized in divisions as depicted in our Organizational Chart.
We have over 100 attorneys who exclusively practice criminal law and related matters. The office recruits and hires candidates with a strong record of academic achievement. Attorneys gain trial experience initially at the misdemeanor level and progress through felonies of increasing difficulty. Due to the seriousness of the cases our office defends, our attorneys have significantly more trial experience than most private practitioners. Attorneys "staff" their cases with experienced senior attorneys and have quality in-house training that is certified by the State Bar.
Our Support Staff
A strong support staff assists fully in the legal defense. Criminal investigators locate and interview witnesses, as well as prepare thorough reports. The most current technological tools are generally available. The legal research assistants (law students) assist in the various divisions and interview and represent clients, under the guidance of a senior attorney. Others assist in legal research work. Our clerical staff processes our services and organizes our case files, assist in case document preparation, and answer a myriad of inquiries. Our Administrative Staff keeps the "business" of the office running smoothly.
How Cases Are Defended
The goal in the defense of all cases is to provide the most vigorous advocacy to each individual client under the law in the most economically efficient manner. Primarily, our office works horizontally. After arraignment, a lead attorney will make an initial assessment of the case and interview the client. A goal and strategy plan for each case is developed. The case will be "staffed" by a senior attorney to insure any resolution of a case at an early stage is appropriate. If the case does not resolve, it is assigned to a trial attorney who will represent the client for the duration of the case. Each case receives careful assessment by staff members who are well versed in the practice and procedures of criminal law and the local criminal justice system.