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Juvenile Defender/ Attorney

companyCameron County
locationSan Benito, TX 78586, USA
PublishedPublished: 6/14/2022
Full Time

Job Description

Juvenile Defender/ Attorney



Summary of Position The Attorney/Trial Attorney under close supervision, and depending on area of assignment: 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.


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 Cameron.


Essential 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; Initiates discovery requests;

Responds to phone calls from the general public; provides general unprivileged information; Oversees the creation and issuance of legal documents, including subpoenas, motions, orders, writs, contracts, official policies and other related documents; Represents the Public Defender 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 Detention and/or 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; Represents all indigent persons charged with crimes in the County whose cases are appointed to the Public Defender's Office; Defends individuals certified as adults and juveniles charged with felonies, misdemeanors and Justice of the Peace cases for which a sentence of incarceration or fine 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 juvenile, indigent, mental health, appellate, etc.; Works closely with Public Defender staff, investigators, probation officers social workers, and mitigation specialists, as well as community agencies and placement facilities 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 for juveniles certified as adults; Interviews clients (both detained and on release) supporting preparation for and argues motions, 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 release 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 respondent 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 True/not Not True adjudication, to have punishment assessed by a judge, whether to testify at the adjudication phase, whether to testify at the disposition 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 respondent 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 respondent clients during other court proceedings. Prepares pre-trial motions such as Requests for 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 Civil and Criminal Procedure, Texas Penal Code, Texas Family Code, , 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. 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 Cameron Emergency Response System, Public Defender employees are designated as Essential 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.


Organizational Relationships Reports and caseload reports to: Trial Team Chief, Division Chief, Senior Division Chief Directs: This is a non-supervisory position.


Has contact with department heads and/or staff in order to coordinate and complete assigned responsibilities, attorneys, investigators, probation officers judiciary and court staff, law enforcement, witnesses, social work agencies, vendors, contractors, other county employees, and the general public.


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 Adobe, 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.

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