Chief Public Defender

Kerr County Job Posting Announcement

Department: The Hill Country Regional Public Defender’s Office (HCRPDO) is a department of Kerr County and is comprised of Bandera, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, and Medina Counties.

Salary Range: $125,000-$130,000

Application Information:

Applications can be downloaded from the Human Resources Department section of the Kerr County website: www.co.kerr.tx.us and returned to:

Kerr County Human Resources
Attn: Jennifer Doss
700 Main Street, BA-104 Kerrville, TX 78028

Kerr County is an Equal Opportunity Employer. A background check will be required of finalist. New or Rehire potential employees will be required to provide documentary proof of their eligibility for employment. Kerr County is a public employer; therefore, all applications are public information.

Job Description:

The Hill Country Regional Public Defender’s Office (HCRPDO) is a new public defender office, funded in part by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC), that will serve Bandera, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, and Medina Counties in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas. The Chief Public Defender will be an employee of Kerr County, will be based in Kerrville, and will oversee a second office in Hondo. The office will begin accepting cases January 2, 2021.

Supervises: 20+ attorneys
Investigators
Caseworkers
Office manager and staff
Total employees supervised: 30

Job Summary: Chief indigent defense attorney for HCRPDO. Directs the office that provides publicly assisted representation of clients in criminal cases, including felonies, misdemeanors juvenile cases, and appeals. Participates in planning programs, policies, or objectives for own work group and department. The Chief Public Defender is a full-time position without any outside legal or alternative dispute resolution practice.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Ensures the functions and services of the Public Defender’s Office are provided in accordance with the requirements of State and Federal Constitutions, State and Federal Law, and State Bar of Texas ethical rules
  • Prepares, monitors and updates the procedure/operations manual as well as the budget for the HCRPDO
  • Plans, organizes, directs, and manages the day-to-day operations of the Public Defender’s Office
  • Oversees felony, Class A & B misdemeanor cases and all juvenile cases to include both jury and non-jury matters, as well as appeals
  • Supervises planning, development, preparation and monitoring of annual budget and statistical reports
  • Develops and maintains good working relationships with the judges of assigned courts while continuing to act as a vigorous advocate for the rights of clients being represented
  • Directs and controls the organization, staffing, administration, and evaluation of all authorized activities of the Public Defender’s Office
  • Supervises the work of all other HCRPDO attorneys in felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile cases
  • Responsible for the selection, training, evaluation, promotion and termination of attorneys and other staff
  • Presents to social and civic groups, incarcerated persons, and other organizations to publicize, promote, and explain the public defender program
  • Represents the Public Defender’s Office in appropriate public and professional meetings and conferences, in interactions with state and municipal officials, County and State bar associations, and citizen groups
  • Makes regular reports to the HCRPDO Oversight Board and such other reports to the participating stakeholder’s commissioner’s courts as requested
  • Performs other duties as assigned

NOTE: The duties listed above are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.

MINIMUM JOB REQUIREMENTS:

Knowledge: Doctor of Jurisprudence.

Experience: 10 or more years practicing criminal law. Minimum of three years of mid-to- senior level supervisory or management experience, including direct supervision of criminal defense attorneys. Experience with cases in felony and misdemeanor courts, including service as lead counsel on felony and misdemeanor criminal jury trials to a verdict. Preferred experience in juvenile and criminal appeals as well. Experience with developing and implementing organizational budgets. Preferred experience leading or helping to lead a public defender office.

Skills and Abilities: Advanced research and writing skills, including trial advocacy, legal research, and library skills. Verbal and written communication, supervisory, management, budgeting, and organizational skills; interpersonal skills, and ability to deal effectively with the public, other employees and elected officials. Must have high degree of case evaluation and advocacy skills, expertise in trial of misdemeanor and felony criminal cases, advanced knowledge of the rules of evidence, case law, penal code, code of criminal procedure and appellate rules.

Special Requirements: Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas or immediately eligible to obtain licensure through the Texas Board of Law Examiners Admission Without Examination (AWOX) process. (Applicants must review the TBLE AWOX requirements: https://ble.texas.gov/admission-without-examination).

Preferences: Licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas and a member in good standing with the State Bar of Texas without adverse disciplinary history and MCLE compliant.

Either reside or relocate to live in one of the five participating stakeholder ounties within six months of date of hire unless extended or waived by the HCRPDO Oversight Board.

Essential Behavioral Expectations: HCRPDO employees are expected to use professional courtesy, discretion, and sound judgment when engaging in any contact with co-workers, customers, vendors, visitors or other employees in the HCRPDO counties. Employees are also responsible for but not limited to, the following behavioral expectations: maintaining confidentiality of business knowledge and employee information, maintaining professional relations while engaging in job related tasks, cooperating with others to resolve conflict and achieve goals, maintaining a pleasant attitude while leaving personal business or issues/problems outside of the work place.

Contacts: Routine contact as needed with criminal defendants, victims, police, coworkers, department employees, the public, and elected officials in person or on the telephone to negotiate, persuade, exchange routine information; instructs and makes presentations as applicable; frequent contact with employees in other departments in person or on the telephone to request information.

Supervision Required: Works under broadly defined guidelines; uses independent judgment to determine standards to apply or adjust; and subject to any additional policies or duties as determined by the Oversight Board.

Physical Demands: Daily use of hands and/or fingers to grasp, handle, pick-up, pinch, type or feel; Daily standing, walking, sitting, talking and listening; Frequent reaching with hands or arms; Occasional lifting of objects up to 40 pounds; climbing or balancing, stooping, crouching or kneeling; Close vision and ability to adjust focus.

Work Environment: Work is performed primarily in a climate-controlled private office. Provides 24- hour on-call assistance to county officials and law enforcement officials. Meeting with clients in jail, as necessary. Noise level is quiet.

Travel Requirements: Travel to visit stakeholders and political leadership in participating counties on an ongoing basis, as needed.

Physical demands and work environment characteristics described are representative of those that must be met or are encountered by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer and requirements of the job change.