Assistant Public Defender

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Job location
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Public Defender's Office
Street address: 
PO Box 10007
Saipan, MP
Northern Marianas Islands
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

The Office of the Public Defender has an opening for an Assistant Public Defender

Duties and Responsibilities:
• Handle all aspects of criminal defense with an emphasis on bench and jury trials in misdemeanor and felony cases with some writing and arguing appeals.
• Represent clients at preliminary matters such as bail hearings, Gerstein hearings, Rule 5 hearings, preliminary hearings and arraignments.
• Prepare and argue pretrial motions such as suppression and evidentiary motions as well as post-conviction motions.
• Represent clients at status conferences, change of plea hearings, trials and sentencing hearings.
• Conduct investigations and interview witnesses.
• Give legal advice to clients.
• Negotiate with opposing counsel.
• Writing and arguing appeals in the CNMI Supreme court.

Benefits: The office will pay round trip relocation expenses. Group health and life insurance is offered as well as 14 annual paid holidays and paid leave at an accrued rate of one day per two week pay period (about four weeks a year).

The Office:
The office is located on Saipan in the Northern Marians Islands (CNMI), 125 miles north of Guam. The population is about 55,000 for all the islands, Saipan is less than 50,000. The Public Defender (PD) serves all of the CNMI with cases pending on all three of the populated islands; Saipan, Rota and Tinian. We often need to use translators as many clients do not speak English.
We are a 5 lawyer office with a support staff of an office manager, a legal assistant and an investigator. The budget is limited. We do a lot of our own investigation. Challenging the constitutionality of police actions and local statutes is integral to our practice and an evolving part of the law. We have our own cases but often need to cover court hearings for each other. We are a small office and need to support each other and cover cases and assignments for each other.

Saipan, as well as all of the CNMI, is a beautiful tropical island. The largest of the three main islands, it is about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide with lots of outdoor activities such as golf, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. There are several local sporting events such as golf tournaments, triathlons, on and of road bike and foot races, and swimming events.
There is a diverse population with a large number of Chinese and Filipinos as well as the indigenous Carolinians and Chamorro. It’s hot and wet in the summer and fairly dry and pleasant in the winter. There is one small underfunded public hospital and a few private clinics. There are travel opportunities to the other islands in the chain and its proximity to Asia and other Pacific Islands allows for travel opportunities for the more adventurous.


The position requires representing a culturally diverse population accused of traffic offenses, probation violations, misdemeanors and felonies in Superior Court as well as writing and arguing appeals in the CNMI Supreme Court.

The applicant must possess a J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school and be admitted to practice law in a state or territory in good standing such that he or she is eligible for a four year temporary admittance to the CNMI Bar Association and at least three years of criminal experience with good legal writing and research skills. This position will focus on jury trials, bench trials, an extensive motion practice with some appellate work possible. Our body of law is still growing and there are areas not yet settled. This can be an interesting and rewarding life style and practice for the right person, but it’s not for everyone.

To apply: 

To apply, please email cover letter, resume and two writing samples to Doug Hartig at [email protected]

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
$45,000 to $63,000
Submission deadline: 
Monday, February 3, 2020