Chapter 2.13


2.13.010    Department recognized.

2.13.020    Position created—Authority.

2.13.030    Appointment—Tenure—Non-civil service status.

2.13.040    Qualifications.

2.13.050    Powers and duties.

2.13.060    Creation of subordinate positions.

2.13.070    Salary and benefits.

2.13.080    Discharge from employment—Conditions.

2.13.010 Department recognized.

Pursuant to California Government Code Section 27700 et seq., the Board of Supervisors hereby establishes a Public Defender’s Office in the County of Santa Cruz. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.020 Position created—Authority.

There is hereby created within the County of Santa Cruz the position of Public Defender. The Public Defender shall be responsible for the operation of the Public Defender’s Office. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.030 Appointment—Tenure—Non-civil service status.

The Public Defender shall be appointed by and serve under the direction and control of the Board of Supervisors and shall serve at the pleasure of the Board. The Public Defender shall not be a civil service employee. The Public Defender shall work independently under administrative oversight from the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrative Officer or their designee, and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. The County Administrative Officer or their designee shall be responsible for coordinating with the Board of Supervisors to decide on the method and procedure to be used for the performance evaluation of the Public Defender. As prescribed in California Government Code Section 27705, the Public Defender shall not engage in any practice of law in addition to or outside of their capacity as Public Defender. [Ord. 5411 § 1, 2022; Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.040 Qualifications.

The Public Defender shall be chosen upon the basis of legal education, experience, administrative ability, and knowledge of criminal law. Pursuant to California Government Code Section 27701, a person is not eligible for the position of Public Defender unless the person has been a practicing attorney for at least one year preceding the date of the person’s appointment. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.050 Powers and duties.

The Public Defender shall provide legal defense services to any person who is not financially able to employ counsel and charged with the commission of any criminal contempt or offense triable in the Superior Court, upon the request of such person or by order of the court, and in all other legal proceedings as required under California Government Code Section 27706. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.060 Creation of subordinate positions.

The Public Defender may appoint such assistant public defenders and support staff as may be necessary to enable them to properly defend indigent clients and perform the powers and duties of their office. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.070 Salary and benefits.

The annual salary of the Public Defender shall be paid in installments by the Auditor in the same manner as the salaries of other County department heads. The Public Defender and any subordinates are entitled to all benefits conferred upon other similarly-situated County employees including, but not limited to, sick leave, vacation, holidays, mileage, travel expenses, and participation in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].

2.13.080 Discharge from employment—Conditions.

The Public Defender may be discharged and their appointment may be terminated by formal action of the Board of Supervisors. Upon the effective date of discharge as fixed by the Board of Supervisors, the person discharged shall cease to act as the Public Defender and shall have no further authority or duty under any provision of this code. [Ord. 5357 § 1, 2020].