Job Specification

Class Code:


Analyst: SC

Date Originated:


Date Revised:



Under general direction of the Public Defender, the Chief Public Defender Investigator plans, organizes, administers, and directs the operations and activities of the Investigation Division of the Public Defenderís Office. This classification performs the most sensitive and complex investigations of criminal and civil law matters that have significant legal implications, and/or a high degree of publicity. Assists in the development, maintenance and implementation of policies, investigation procedures and standards for the investigations division, and performs related work as required.


The Chief Public Defender Investigator classification is a division chief level position responsible for directing the Investigation Division of the Public Defenderís Office. This position is key in establishing best practices, implementing policies and directives, managing the most serious, sensitive, and complex cases, and is responsible for the management of staff in the Investigation Division.


The Chief Public Defender Investigator classification is distinguished from that of the Public Defender Investigator III class in that the incumbent is responsible for the management, administration, and operational activities of the Investigation Division and assists the Public Defender and/or the Public Defenderís Office Leadership Team with establishing methods and techniques required to implement policies and programs. It is further distinguished by its managerial and supervisorial duties which include assigning, reviewing, and evaluating work of subordinate investigators and support staff and conducting regular staff meetings to review progress, accomplishments, strategies and plans for the Investigation Division.


         Plans, organizes, directs, and manages the activities and operations of the Investigation Division.

         Supervises, assigns, reviews, and evaluates the work of investigators and support staff.

         Analyzes changes in division polices, regulations and procedures and makes recommendations to the Public Defender and/or Public Defenderís Office Leadership Team.

         Confers with department management in the formulation of investigative plans.

         Ensures that the development and implementation of changes to operational policy and procedure are incompliance with regulatory and statutory authorities, by evaluating of the operational impact.

         Oversees, coordinates, and plans the training, supervision, and utilization of investigators.

         Directs, conducts, and participates in the work of the division including advising and assisting in, or personally conducting the most serious, sensitive, and complex investigations assigned to the division that have legal significance or high public exposure.

         Coordinates with the Public Defender and/or the Public Defenderís Office Leadership Team on the review of varied cases and investigation support needs, presentations of evidence, credibility/sequence of witnesses and other matters related to pretrial preparations.

         Discuss investigation requests with the Public Defenderís Office Leadership Team to clarify the investigation focus, and assigns based on resources, priorities, and deadlines.

         Performs all aspects of criminal investigations, including conducting interviews, investigating crime scenes, securing evidence, establishing facts, preparing reports on results of investigation, examines correspondence and reports for accuracy, pertinence and consistency with laws and regulations.

         Prepares written and verbal reports containing facts and findings of investigation and recommendations regarding disposition of criminal and/or civil cases and testifies at hearings and trials.

         Develops, maintains, and coordinates investigation activities with other law enforcement agencies and serves as the Investigations Divisionís liaison with local, state, and federal governmental agencies including the media, outside public and private agencies.

         Responsible for the maintenance of annual caseload records and the preparation of statistical reports.

         Establishes and maintains informant contacts to develop information relevant to cases.

         Oversees the maintenance of resources and reference materials.

         Responsible for referral of clients to proper social agencies.

         May serve subpoenas, orders, and other legal documents.

         Conducts trainings on proper use and maintenance of equipment used by the department during investigations (i.e., special equipment, sound intercepting, recording devices, and photographic equipment).

         Operates and maintains a variety of photographic, recording, graphic, and projection equipment.

         Participates in the development of the strategic plan and vision for the Public Defenderís Office at the direction of the Public Defender, and/or the Public Defenderís Office Leadership Team.

         Participates in the budget development of the Investigation Division.

         Maintains and updates professional knowledge, skills, and development by attending seminars and training programs and presenting relevant topics to the investigation team.

         Performs other related duties as assigned.



Thorough knowledge of:


         Principles, procedures, and practices of organization, administration, and personnel management of the Investigationís Division of the Public Defenderís Office.

         Methods, techniques, and procedures with crime detection, and criminal investigations including gathering, preserving, and presenting evidence, basic identification techniques, and methods of operation.

         Basic psychological principles, interviewing techniques, and interrogating witnesses of varied socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and mentally deficient clients.

         Principles and practices of personnel management, including supervision, corrective measures, evaluation, training, and development.

         Applicable codes, including Penal Code of the State of California, Evidence Code, Vehicle Code, Health and Safety Code, Welfare and Institutions Code, Elections Code, Business and Professions Code, Government Code and other state and federal laws and case law as applicable to criminal and civil investigations.

         Laws governing arrest, search and seizure, rules of interrogation, rights of citizens, rules of evidence, service of subpoenas; regulations regarding juveniles, laws, regulations, and procedures regarding conservatorship, custody, and mental health proceedings, and courtroom procedures in felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile court or jury trial matters.

         Principles and practices of criminal identification, such as fingerprinting, ballistics and photography.


Working knowledge of:


         Administrative principles and practices on the development and implementation of policies and procedures and goal settings.

         Principles and practices of office management and organizational development to include budget and fiscal administration.

         Recordkeeping, report preparation, filing methods, and records-management techniques.

         Laboratory procedures, methods, and uses of scientific investigation equipment and analysis incident to the investigation of crimes.

         Computer applications and hardware related to performance of the essential functions of the position.†

         Ethical and professional standards of conduct.

         Principles and practices of supervision and training.




Ability to:

         Effectively plan, organize, manage, coordinate, supervise and evaluate the work of subordinate staff.

         Conduct complex and highly sensitive investigations.

         Motivate, direct, and support subordinate staff by providing training and professional development.

         Review and evaluate complex investigative reports, statements, and complaints to determine appropriate action.

         Establish and maintain constructive and effective working relationships with all encountered during work (i.e., attorneys, law enforcement agency personnel, and others contacted).

         Use tact, discretion, initiative, and independent judgment within established guidelines when dealing with others in a variety of stressful and non-stressful situations.

         Effectively, interpret and apply laws and regulations, and recommend effective courses of action.

         Communicate clearly and logically in oral and written form and make effective presentations before large groups.

         Evaluate current operations and develop and implement improvements.

         Prepare investigative staff procedures and policies.

         Organize work, set priorities, meet critical deadlines, and follow-up on assignments with minimal direction.

         Develop and implement new programs.

         Incorporate innovative approaches to provided services (i.e., develop new cost-effective processes, improve present standards, exercise initiative, ingenuity, and sound judgment in identifying and solving difficult, complex problems).†

         Analyze and determine priorities and importance of various types of evidence situations.

         Appraise and organize facts, evidence, strategy, and tactics in the most complex cases, which may include capital case defense.

         Use digital photographic equipment, measuring devices, and operate various scientific investigations equipment.

         Maintain high professional standards and observe ethics of defense investigations.

         Ensure that the investigation staff conforms to applicable State and Federal laws, rules, and regulations.

         Maintain confidentiality and objectivity.


Training and Experience

Any combination of training and experience, which would provide the required knowledge and abilities, is qualifying. A typical way to obtain these knowledge and abilities would be:

Bachelorís degree in Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Administration of Justice, Criminology, Public Administration, Sociology, Psychology, or related field.


Five (5) years of experience as an investigator in an investigative unit of a Public Defender or Prosecuting Attorney's Office, or in a Sheriffís or police investigation bureau, which must include two (2) years of experience in a supervisory and/or administrative capacity.

Possession of a California Private Investigator license is highly recommended.†


Special Requirements/Conditions:

License/Certificate Requirement: Possession of a valid California Class C Driverís License.


Background Investigation: At a minimum, this process will include fingerprinting and is subject to additional background standards established by appointing authority.


Special Working Conditions: Possibility of exposure to bodily injury, heights (such as roofs of buildings), areas containing free silica or asbestos dust, toxic fumes, offensive odors, explosives, electrical hazards, infections which may cause chronic disease or death, and hostile and/or combative persons.


Other Special Requirements: Availability to work a flexible schedule, including evenings, weekends, holidays and on an emergency, as needed basis.













Bargaining Unit: Executive Management

EEOC Job Category: 02

Occupational Grouping: 62

Worker's Comp Code: 1073