Public Defender

​Steven M. Garrett

The Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office represents the majority of people in Sacramento County who are charged with crimes. The Court appoints the Public Defender to represent people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Our lawyers, investigators and support staff are committed to serving our clients and our community with professionalism, creativity and dedication. We represent many thousands of people each year, from young children who are victimized by sex traffickers to adults charged with serious crimes. We care about our clients and strive to obtain the best result for each client. We do so efficiently while providing quality and effective representation to our clients. 

We have six divisions: a Juvenile Division, a Misdemeanor Division, a Felony Division, a Research Division, a LPS/Conservatorship Division and an Investigations Division. Each is staffed with talented, dedicated trial lawyers, investigators and other professionals who work together as a team to represent our clients. We try hundreds of cases a year, and we are proud of our effectiveness. 

Paulino G. Durán Retires

1993 to 2018

Our Public Defender—Paulino—retires after approximately a quarter of a century at the helm of the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office. At the time of his retirement, Paulino was the longest sitting Public Defender in the State of California and longest sitting department head in Sacramento County. Paulino emigrated from Mexico to the United States as a child and became a proud United States citizen. In his teens, his father sent him to work alongside farm workers during the summer harvest where he not only learned how hard that work is, but also how important it is to obtain an education. In his youth, he was an amateur boxer, and he played football at San Francisco State. Paulino went on to graduate from law school at the University of San Francisco. He taught law for a time at UC Hastings School of Law. He was always drawn to helping others, and he genuinely cared about the people he worked with. Paulino worked a stint as an Assistant District Attorney in his early years. But he eventually settled in at the Marin County Public Defender’s Office before coming to the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office as the Public Defender.

We hope that Paulino will enjoy a rich and happy retirement. We close with Paulino’s own words:

May you personally never need the services of the Office of the Public Defender but if you do, be assured that you will receive quality legal representation. Also, be proud of the fact that employees within this law firm are insuring that the law is upheld in fact, principle and spirit.