Job Title: Public Defender Director
Location: Potter County, TX
Closing Date: Jan 7, 2022
Potter and Armstrong Counties, located in the Panhandle of Texas, are implementing a hybrid indigent defense program that combines a Public Defender division with a Managed Assigned Counsel division. Each division will be separately managed by its own Director. This new program will be built from the ground up under the direction of the two Directors. Funding to support the program's implementation has already been procured through the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and the two County Commissioners' Courts.
In general, the Public Defender Director will facilitate the provision of legal defense to clients needing publicly-assisted representation in cases (primarily, felony cases) accepted by the Public Defender division. The PD Director will oversee the Public Defender division of the PD/MAC. The PD Director will work in coordination with the Director of the MAC division.
The two counties have created an implementation plan for the establishment of this new office which can be found at: Potter/Armstrong County Indigent Defense Plan.
Starting Salary: Up to $130,000.00; DOQ.
Benefits include access to a quality health insurance plan and enrollment in a defined benefit retirement plan through the Texas County and District Retirement System, www.tcdrs.org.
Annual leave for new hires includes 13 holidays and 10 vacation days. Sick leave accumulates at one day per month. After one year of service a portion of unused sick leave (up to 4 days per year) can be converted to additional vacation leave. State Bar dues, CLE classes, and memberships in the Texas District and County Attorneys Association and the Amarillo Area Bar Association will also be paid by the County.
• License to practice law in good standing in the State of Texas or immediately eligible to obtain licensure through the Texas Board of Law Examiners Admission Without Examination (AWOX) process. (Applicants not licensed to practice law in Texas must review the TBLE A WOX requirements: https://ble.texas.gov/admission-without-examination).
• Have at a minimum, five (5) years of Criminal Law experience preferably with Non-Capital Murder qualifications.
• Understand the ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Defense Function, the National Association of Public Defense Foundational Principles, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission's Guidelines for Indigent Defense Caseloads and the Performance Guidelines for Non-Capital Criminal Defense Representation promulgated by the State Bar of Texas.
• Complete knowledge of and ability to apply federal, state, and local laws and ordinances to a wide variety of individual situations and circumstances for the preparation of cases and defense of clients before the court and/or jury.
• Supervisory or Managerial experience preferred.
• Ensures the functions and services of the Public Defender division are provided in accordance with the requirements of State and Federal Constitutions, State and Federal Law, and State Bar of Texas ethical rules.
• Develops and implements policies and procedures for the PD to meet the standards and guidelines of the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.
• Plans, organizes, directs, and manages the day-to-day operations of the Public Defender Division.
• May participate in a limited number of felony trials of all degrees as a lead attorney in both jury and non-jury matters.
• Supervises planning, development, production of statistical reports and assists with the preparation and monitoring of annual budget.
• 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 Assistant Public Defenders.
• Responsible for the selection, training, evaluation, promotion and termination of attorneys and other PD staff.
• Monitors and maintains caseload guidelines, monitors attorney training and ensures that each of the Assistant Public Defenders on staff at a minimum, meet their MCLE requirements.
• Insures there are no conflicts of interest and coordinates with the MAC Director and/or the courts in the event of multiple-party defendant cases.
• Makes presentations to social and civic groups, incarcerated persons, and other organizations to publicize, promote, and explain the public defender program.
• Represents the Public Defender division in appropriate public and professional meetings and conferences, in interactions with state and municipal officials, County and State bar associations, and citizen groups.
• Staffs and facilitates the conduct of the quarterly meetings of the Potter/ Armstrong County PD/MAC Oversight Board.
• Prepares reports and makes presentations as requested to the Potter and/or Armstrong County Commissioner's Court.
• May assist the MAC Director with the mentoring of the Fellowship attorney during different phases of their progression.
• This position is full time and therefore the appointee cannot engage in the private practice of law.
• 3 - 5 Assistant Public Defenders
• Support Staff Person
• Mental Health/Social Services Coordinator
• Contracted Investigators
This position will be employed by Potter County but reports to the Potter/ Armstrong County PD/MAC Oversight Board, a non-partisan body created by the Commissioners' Courts to independently oversee and govern the operations of the Potter/Armstrong County PD/MAC. Among the authorities granted the Board by the Courts is the hiring/firing of the PD/MAC's Directors.
Interested candidates should submit I) a completed copy of the Potter County Employment Application form; 2) a letter of interest based on your read of the counties' plan (plan link in the Job Description section above) describing how you would approach the establishment of this new office; 3) a resume; 4) a writing sample and, 5) references to:Judge John Board, Chairman; Potter/ Armstrong PD/MAC Oversight Board; 900 S. Polk Street, Suite 200, Amarillo, TX 79101. DO NOT mail to this address.
The application information should be sent to Judge Board, in care of John Kiehl with the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission at email@example.com. Questions can be directed to John Kiehl at (806) 372-3381.
Applications will be accepted through 3:00 p.m. (CDT) on Friday January 7, 2022.
A background investigation of each applicant, including review of any criminal history information, may be conducted. Candidates selected for an interview will be notified and will need to travel to Amarillo for the interview. Interview expenses cannot be reimbursed.
"POTTER COUNTY DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORGIN, SEX, RELIGION, AGE OR DISABILITY IN EMPLOYMENT OF THE PROVISIONS OF SERVICES".
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