Advocates for indigent clients in assigned cases at every stage of the criminal justice system at a trainee level. Appears and advocates in court at pre-trial hearings, bench or jury trials, sentencings, and other court hearings. Negotiates plea bargains, dismissals, or other disposition of assigned cases with prosecuting attorneys. Investigates facts and prepares defense for assigned cases to determine the merits of cases and appropriate course of action. Interviews, confers and advises clients on merits of appropriate course of actions, including seeking a dismissal, plea, or trial. Locates and interviews witnesses. Conducts discovery, including depositions. Plans case strategy and prepares for trial. Maintains appropriate communication with client about status of the case and answers client questions. May direct work of investigators consistent with internal office policies. Identifies potential legal issues to advance client's case, research applicable law, and draft appropriate motions and briefs. Prepares by typing and printing various legal documents, including written arraignments, written guilty please, motions, briefs, letters, and other documents. Maintains client case files, prepares public defender time reports to the court, and closes files consistent with office policies.
Minimum Qualification Requirements
Applicants must have graduated from an accredited law school and possess a current license to practice law in the State of Iowa prior to commencing employment in positions in this job classification.
The Office of the State Public Defender is responsible for coordinating Iowa's Indigent Defense System. Our mission is to ensure that all indigent persons in Iowa are provided high quality legal representation in criminal, juvenile, and other eligible proceedings in the most efficient and fiscally responsible manner.
The office is led by the State Public Defender, who is appointed by the Governor. More than two hundred employees in eighteen Local Public Defender Offices and the Appellate Defender's Office provide representation for indigent persons primarily in criminal and juvenile cases at the trial and appellate levels in all of Iowa's 99 counties. The State Public Defender also contracts with more than one thousand private attorneys and several nonprofit organizations throughout Iowa to provide court-appointed representation in cases that public defender offices are unable to handle. These contract attorneys, as well as other indigent defense providers, such as investigators, court reporters, interpreters, and expert witnesses, are paid from the Indigent Defense Fund, which is administered by the State Public Defender.