El Paso County, Texas
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PUBLIC DEFENDER - TRIAL ATTORNEY
at El Paso County, Texas
- Minimum Qualifications
Acceptable Experience and Education
Doctor of Jurisprudence.
Certificates and Licenses Required
Must have and maintain a license to practice law in the State of Texas and be in good standing with the State Bar of Texas.
Depending on area assigned: Must have or obtain by date of hire a valid driver's license applicable to job responsibilities, with a driving record acceptable to the County of El Paso.
- Typical Duties
Performs legal research, and keeps abreast of changes in the law;
Searches resources and studies legal records and documents to obtain information applicable to case or issue under consideration;
Examines video, file and physical case evidence;
Drafts briefs, motions, orders, subpoenas, contracts, notices, and other legal documents, as well as correspondence and reports;
Takes depositions and responds to discovery requests;
Responds to phone calls from the general public; provides general information;
Oversees the creation and issuance of legal documents, including subpoenas, motions, orders, writs, warrants, contracts, official policies and other related documents;
Represents the department at docket calls;
Prepares cases for trial;
Collects, organizes and prepares evidence, information and other legal materials;
Attends and participates in meetings, training and information sessions;
Stays abreast of new trends and innovations in the field;
Commits self to providing excellent customer service and demonstrate commitment through cooperative team and individual efforts; and
Creates a high quality work culture through participation in and emphasis on training and mentoring to develop leadership, management, and technical skills in self and all employees, including safety related training and skills.
Depending on area assigned:
Public Defender's Office:
May include appellate work in any or all of these areas;
Establishes and maintains close contact with defendants by regular visits to the Correctional facilities or by constant correspondence via personal visits to the Public Defender's Office, phone contact, or by letters to defendants not in custody;
Prepares litigation on family law cases covers this potential area of practice more inclusively;
Represents all indigent persons charged with crimes in the County whose cases are appointed to the Public Defender's Office;
Defends individual adults and juveniles charged with felonies, misdemeanors and traffic cases for which a sentence of incarceration may be imposed;
Provides representation at all stages of the court process, including before the filing of formal charges, at the trial court level, and any related appeals;
Provides effective representation to clients while managing a large caseload;
Represents as assigned to handle specific types of cases such as family, juvenile, indigent, mental health, appellate, etc.;
Works closely with Public Defender staff, investigators, social workers, and mitigation specialists, as well as community agencies to match needs of clients with resources, programs, and assistance providing holistic, client-centered representation;
Handles all court hearings for clients, including seeking bond reductions in the Jail Magistrate Court, arraignment court and bond court;
Interviews clients (both detained and on bond) supporting preparation for and argues motions for release on personal bond and/or bond reduction, development and investigation of defenses to pending charges, and development of potential mitigation of punishment;
Meets with clients when arrested and obtains their history to make bond arguments to the court;
Maintains strong, ongoing working relationship with clients in person, including visits in detention facilities, by phone and by mail contact;
As required may be called to represent individuals at investigative proceedings, related civil matters, and other ancillary issues; may be assigned to handle cases involving post-conviction writs of habeas corpus and/or appellate relief;
Interviews and counsels respondents in mental health proceedings in Local or State treatment units where they may be confined and works closely with psychiatrists and other medical or treatment personnel;
Investigates and directs investigation by staff investigators into alleged crime(s) or offense, including by meeting with witnesses, police officers and reviewing the facts;
Meets with the client to discuss the appropriate action to be taken and whether pre-trial motions should be filed, discuss any plea offers from the State, and the consequences, including collateral legal consequences thereto, and, ultimately prepare client and case for trial;
Reviews case, results of investigation, applicable laws and codes, and professional obligations to identify, prepare, direct filing, and litigate appropriate pretrial motions;
Performs as trial counsel by representing defendant's clients during courtroom proceedings;
Researches case law, communicates with defendant clients to determine on an on-going basis, including to advise and consult in client's decision whether to accept a plea offer, to go to trial with a judge or a jury for guilt/not guilt, to have punishment assessed by a judge or judge, whether to testify at the guilt phase, whether to testify at the punishment phase, and whether to appeal;
Prepares trial strategy, including mitigation case for punishment, such as prepares for direct and cross-examination of witness's procedures, witness selection, jury selection, testimony decisions and opening and closing arguments;
Acts as negotiator between the defendant clients and the State's Attorney's Office prosecutors to secure acquittals or reach agreement concerning sentence time plea agreements which would be the most beneficial for the defendant client, and the State's Attorney's Office;
Researches case law and witness testimony, conducts investigations and negotiates with the Prosecutor State's Attorney's Office. Analyzes facts, evidence and the strength of case, determines client's wishes and meets with prosecutor to resolve the matter short of trial;
Represents defendant's clients during other court proceedings. Prepares pre-trial motions such as Answer to Discovery, Motions to Suppress Evidence, Requests for Notice, Motions to Dismiss and Motions to Additional Discovery, which are required to be filed in accordance with the Texas Rules of Criminal Procedure, Texas Penal Code, Texas Family Code, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, and other relevant statutes, as well as and a obtaining a hearing set to ensure that they are carried out properly litigate the motions as necessary;
Prepares, files, and litigates post-trial matters including Motions for New Trial, as necessary, such as motions to withdraw pleas, motions to reconsider sentence and post-conviction petitions.
Other Important Duties
Performs such other related duties as may be assigned;
May work extended hours and weekends;
Regular out of town travel for professional conferences and meetings;
Maintains a safe and healthy work place environment;
As members of the County of El Paso Emergency Response System, all El Paso County employees are designated as Disaster Service Workers during a proclaimed emergency and may be required to train on emergency response and/or perform certain emergency services at the direction of their supervisor.
- Job Summary
The Attorney/Trial Attorney under close supervision, and depending on area of assignment: provides general counsel for various County Offices and staff; prosecutes criminal, civil and family law cases; represents, defends, and advocates for clients accused of a crime; reviews family case law for legal sufficiency and litigates family law enforcement cases. May include appellate work in any or all of these areas.
This is the first in a series of three non-supervisory attorney-related job classifications within the Attorneys job family.
- Additional Information
Minimum Requirements: Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Knowledge of: County, state, and federal legal principles, practices, procedures regarding the court system; state and local statutes and codes; case law; rules of evidence; contract terminology and requirements; legal practices and procedures; legal terminology; department policies, procedures and regulations covering specific areas of assignment; County organization, operations, policies and procedures; English usage, grammar, punctuation and spelling; techniques for effective interpersonal communications; modern office procedures, methods and computer equipment to include Windows and Microsoft based products.
Skill/Ability to: operate a personal computer and various software applications; conduct research, develop appropriate documentation, assess and prioritize multiple tasks, projects and demands to meet scheduled requirements; conduct legal research; establish and maintain effective working relations with co-workers and customers to promote and support a productive work environment; defining problems, collecting data, establishing facts and drawing valid conclusions; work efficiently independently and in a team environment to meet established goals and objectives; communicate effectively in verbal and written forms to respond effectively to customers and staff; exercise initiative and independent judgment within established procedural guidelines in performance of daily duties; use initiative and independent judgment within established procedural guidelines; prepare clear, concise and comprehensive written reports; and establish and maintain cooperative and effective relationships with those contacted during the course of work. Pass a background investigation.
Each and every county position requires the following professional skills and abilities as key and
necessary elements of performance:
- Demonstrate regular and reliable attendance;
- Work well with others and participate fully in a team oriented environment;
- Interface with other employees and customers in a courteous and respectful manner;
- Maintain strict confidentiality;
- Project positive support of their department and all organizations receiving El Paso County service at all times; and,
- Maintain and enhance the County's commitment to customer service excellence