Deputy Public Defender II

You are here

Job location
312 East Cook Street
Santa Maria, CA 93455
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Santa Barbara County Public Defender
Street address: 
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

Deputy Public Defender II: Salary $102,719.70 – $123,855.96 (annually) plus bilingual allowance when applicable.

Are you passionate about holding the legal system to uphold the constitutional and statutory rights of our community and honor their spaces, stories, and struggles? The Public Defender’s Office is accepting applications to fill two full-time Deputy Public Defender II vacancies in Santa Barbara County.

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.

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.

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.

To apply: 

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

Link to apply:

If you have any questions, please contact Dee Engler @ [email protected].

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
$102,719.70 – $123,855.96 (annually) plus bilingual allowance when applicable.
Submission deadline: 
Tuesday, October 3, 2023