PUBLIC DEFENDER INVESTIGATOR I / II

Job Specifications

 

Class Code: DJ6, DJ7

Analyst:  SC

Date Originated:

07/21

Date Revised:


COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ

DEFINITION

Under specified levels of direction, interviews witnesses, clients, and alleged victims in the conduct of investigations; obtains, preserves, records, and analyzes evidence for the defense of clients represented by the Office of the Public Defender; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

Public Defender Investigator I is the entry level classification. Work is of moderate difficulty and is performed in accordance with established policies and procedures under supervision. †Duties include various technical and analytical responsibilities in support of investigative activities and functions. As incumbents gain experience, they receive more complex assignments with less supervision.

Public Defender Investigator II is the journey level class in the series, responsible for performing the full range of duties under minimal supervision. Incumbents are expected to exercise a high degree of initiative and independent judgment within established guidelines and legal requirements to secure information and conduct complex investigations of felony and misdemeanor charges.
 
This class is distinguished from the Public Defender Investigator III in that the latter has supervisory responsibility for the Investigators of the Office of the Public Defender.

TYPICAL TASKS

Public Defender Investigator I:

 

         Conduct investigations to support the legal defense of a wide variety of cases involving minor felony and misdemeanor charges and civil actions such as paternity and conservatorship.

         Contact and maintain liaison with outside agencies and expert witnesses as reference resources for potential testimony in highly specialized fields.

         Locate, obtain, evaluate, and preserve documentary evidence from a variety of sources.

         Confer with attorneys on points of law and procedure.

         Serve subpoenas on those required to testify or submit evidence before the court.

         Coordinate witness court appearances.

         Appear as a witness and testify at trials, hearings, and motions.

         Operate and maintain a variety of photographic, tape, graphic and projection equipment.

         Write reports regarding contacts and findings including statements, scene descriptions, and analysis of physical evidence.

         Maintain paper and automated records.

         Perform related duties as assigned.

 

Public Defender Investigator II Ė (All the duties listed for Public Defender Investigator I plus):

 

         Conduct more complex and specialized investigations.

         Write detailed and comprehensive reports on investigations.

         Advise subordinate Public Defender Investigators regarding conduct of investigations, analysis of evidence and preparation of reports.

         Give assistance in complicated investigations.

         Develop and maintain a variety of community and informant contacts to obtain information that may be relevant to cases.

         Confer with attorneys regarding the investigations, preparation, and processing of cases.

 

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS

Public Defender Investigator I


Working Knowledge of:

         Techniques, principles, and methods used in civil and criminal investigations.

         Methods and techniques of gathering, evaluating, screening, and preserving evidence, including preparing exhibits for trial.

         Laboratory procedures related to the investigation of a crime.

         Relevant sections of the California Penal Code and the general concepts of criminal law.

         The laws related to arrests, rules of evidence and court procedures.

         The various resources available to help locate individuals.

         Good report writing and record keeping techniques.

         The mental defenses such as diminished capacity and legal insanity, including general knowledge of the subject of psychology and psychological testing.

         Bookkeeping and financial record keeping methods, practices, and terminology.

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

         Telephone, office, and online etiquette.



Public Defender Investigator II - (The following is required in addition to the knowledge required for Public Defender Investigator I):

 

 

Working Knowledge of:

 

         Departmental procedures, rules, regulations, and the limitations of departmental authority.

         Legal research methods.

         Mental defenses to a crime such as diminished capacity and legal insanity, including general knowledge of the subject of psychology and psychological testing.

         Mental defenses to a crime such as diminished capacity and legal insanity.

         Various firearms, including identification, use, firepower, and ballistic patterns for the purpose of investigating cases involving the discharge of firearms.


Public Defender Investigator I

Ability to:

         Establish and maintain effective working relationships with attorneys, representatives of other agencies, clients, the public, and colleagues.

         Adjust to workload changes, and work under stress to meet deadlines.  

         Organize and prioritize workload to manage cases efficiently.  

         Recall names, faces and incidents.†

         Work outside of office environment and normal business hours.†

         Analyze situations accurately and take effective action.  

         Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.†

         Operate and maintain a variety of photographic, recording, and graphic equipment.

         Maintain a congenial attitude under various conditions with uncooperative individuals.

         Diagram and draft charts or other diagrams required for forensic use.

         Read and understand legal codes and cases and technical material in such disciplines as medicine and the physical and social sciences.

         Obtain information through interview.

         Assess the credibility of witnesses and evidence.

         Gather and analyze facts and evidence and draw valid conclusions.

         Organize and prioritize workload to manage cases efficiently, adjust to workload changes, and work under stress to meet deadlines.

         Testify in court in a direct, clear, and concise manner.

         Prepare, present, and maintain clear and accurate notes, reports, and records.


Public Defender Investigator II - (The following is required in addition to the skills required for Public Defender Investigator I):

         Work independently with minimum supervision.

         Use a high level of analytical skill in developing detailed and comprehensive reports.

 

Education and Experience:

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

Public Defender Investigator I: Two years of college course work in accounting, criminal justice, system analysis or related field AND two years of experience in law enforcement or investigative work.††††††

OR

Possession of a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, or administration of justice.††††

Public Defender Investigator II: Two years of college course work in accounting, criminal justice, system analysis or related field. AND two years of experience performing duties comparable to the Santa Cruz County Public Defender Investigator I class that included investigation of difficult and sensitive felony and misdemeanor cases referred to the Public Defenderís Office.††

OR

Two years of college course work in accounting, criminal justice, system analysis or related field. AND four years of experience in law enforcement or investigative work that included the investigation of suspected criminal activities.

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.

 

PREVIOUS CLASS TITLES: None

Bargaining Unit: 41

EEOC Job Category: 04

Occupational Grouping: 62

Workers' Comp Code: 1073