San Joaquin County Public Defender's Office
Job Category
Work Schedule
Job Closing Date
Job Open until Filled
Job Description

San Joaquin County is seeking a proven leader to manage and direct the Public Defender’s Office.  The Public Defender is responsible for leading, managing and administering the programs, functions, budgets, operations and staff and for participating in the preparation and defense of a variety of criminal and civil matters.  The Public Defender ensures that assigned programs and operations comply with all applicable laws and regulations.  This position is an executive level at-will position appointed by the County Board of Supervisors and is exempt from the San Joaquin County Civil Service System.

About the department: The Public Defender’s Office, established in 1968, is a major law office providing legal representation for indigent persons for whom the County is required to provide counsel in criminal, juvenile, and mental health matters pursuant to California Government Code Section 27706. The Public Defender’s primary practice areas include: Adult Criminal Defense; Juvenile Criminal Defense; Child Dependency (focus on parents); Mental Commitment Defense; and Civil Extension Actions. Public defender attorneys and staff handle an incoming caseload exceeding 1,800 cases per month. Clients are screened by court staff for indigency. County-funded legal services are provided only on mandated cases to those who lack the present means to hire private attorneys. The County contracts with Lawyer Referral Services to handle cases where the Public Defender has declared a conflict of interest or is otherwise unavailable.

The Ideal Candidate

In addition to desirable education and experience, an ideal candidate will possess the following experience and competencies: 

  • The creative vision to advance the services of the Public Defender’s Office · High level of integrity and strong sense of ethics. 
  • Proven ability to effectively provide leadership and collaborate with multiple departments and/or agencies to attain common goals. 
  • Demonstrated experience in developing creative and alternative solutions to administrative and management challenges such as AB109 and Proposition 47
  • Strong administrative, human resources, fiscal and organizational development experience · Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong analytical skills, sound judgment, and positive attitude.

    Minimum Qualifications


Experience: Seven years of senior-level managerial attorney experience, including five years in the practice of criminal defense in a public agency setting.


Special Requirement: Membership in the California State Bar.

Potential cashable compensation 

Compensation and Benefits:

Step 1: 

Annual Salary: $222,910

5% Deferred Comp: $11,146

Vacation Cash-Out (15 days): $12,860

Car Allowance: $7,020 

Total: $253, 936

Step 5: 

Annual Salary: $270,949

5% Deferred Comp: $13,547

Vacation Cash-Out (15 days): $15,632

Car Allowance: $7,020 

Total: $307,148

***In addition to a competitive salary, the County offers a comprehensive compensation packet that includes 1937 Retirment Act plan with CALPERS reciprocity

*125 Flex Spending Benefits Plan

*14 paid holidays per year

*10 days administrative leave per year

*15 days of vacation leave (20 days after 10 years and 23 days after 20 years)


Future Raises for the Public Defender: 

*Effective July 1, 2024—4% Cost of Living Adjustment 

*Effective July 14, 2025—3% Cost of Living Adjustment

Don't miss out on this opportunity. Job our team now! Apply by following the link below: 

Announcement: Public Defender - San Joaquin County (jobapscloud.com)