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Organization TypePublic Interest
Years of Experience
Date Last Verified
Assistant Public Defender DUTIES: Provides every aspect of legal representation to persons charged with a state crime or delinquent act and who, because of indigence, cannot obtain counsel to represent them. Provide effective representation to clients who are frequently illiterate, mentally ill or suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Handles magisterial, trial and appellate court proceedings based upon levels of skill knowledge and experience, as determined by the Chief Public Defender and/or First Assistant. Meets with clients when arrested and thereafter and obtains their history to make arguments to the court for release on bond and other matters. Maintain timely working relationship with clients in person, by phone and by mail throughout the course of the proceedings. Investigate alleged crime or offense by meeting with witnesses, police officers and reviewing the facts, as may be necessary. Meet with the client to discuss the appropriate action to be taken. Analyze strength of case, develop and understanding of the possible sentences; and at the client's wishes, meet with prosecutor to resolve the matter prior to trial. May engage the District Attorney's Office or Attorney General's Office in plea negotiations or may involve preparing the case for trial. Case preparation includes researching the law, preparing and filing appropriate motions and devising trail strategy. Perform as trial counsel by representing defendants during courtroom proceeding. Research case law, communicate with defendant to determine trial strategy such as cross-examination procedures, witness selection, jury selection, testimony decisions and opening and closing arguments. Act as negotiator between the defendant and the District Attorney's Office or Attorney General's Office to secure acquittals or reach agreements concerning sentence time which would be the most beneficial for the defendant and the Commonwealth. Act as a defense counsel at trial and continue to represent the client at the sentencing hearing if a guilty verdict is rendered at trial. If found guilty, the attorney must review trial transcript, research the law and draft post-sentence motions in order to preserve issues for appellate review. Represent defendants during other court proceedings. Prepare pre-trial motions such as Motions to Compel Discovery, Motions to Suppress Evidence, and Motions to Dismiss, which are required to be filed and a hearing set to ensure that they are carried out properly. Prepare post-trial and post-sentence matters such as motions to withdraw pleas, motions to reconsider sentence and post-conviction petitions. Keep abreast of developments in the law and attend training session to receive CLE credit or other training sessions to enhance his or her knowledge of the law as approved by the Chief Public Defender. Maintain contact with Office of District Attorney, Office of Attorney General, social service agencies, correctional facilities staff, police, and the Coroner's Office. Maintain frequent contact with various agencies regarding the referral of clients for drug treatment, family counseling and other assistance. May be called to represent individuals at investigative proceedings such as line-ups, taking of blood urine, hair, and fingernail scraping samples. May be assigned to handle cases involving post-conviction or appellate relief. May concentrate in representing juveniles in juvenile delinquency proceedings. Works closely with social service agencies to ensure that children in the County receive the protections and care that is needed, subject to assignment by the Chief Public Defender. May concentrate in representing clients in mental health proceedings in the local or state treatment units where clients may be confined and works closely with psychiatrists and other medical or treatment personnel, subject to assignment by the Chief Public Defender. May direct staff on specific projects or cases, but does not have direct supervisory responsibilities.
Qualification and Experience
QUALIFICATIONS: A member of the Bar, in good standing, of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition, 2+ years' experience in criminal defense work is preferred but its absence is not disqualifying. Knowledge of: Pennsylvania Criminal Law, Procedure and Evidence. United States and Pennsylvania Constitutional Law and Principles. Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure. Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Procedure and Delinquency Act. Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines and Rules. Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act. Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Responsibility. Skills in: Analysis of cases and legal opinions. Analysis of new legislation and its impact on client representation. Using computer assisted legal research tools. Using Microsoft Word, Outlook and case management systems. Trial and/or Appellate practice. Plea negotiations. Ability to: Write effectively. Argue points of law and facts persuasively and zealously. Coordinate work of others. Commit to the service of public defense.
Company infoRachel Nilsson