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  • Public Defender

    Pima County Public Defender

    The Pima County Public Defender provides legal defense services to people charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses in Pima County, as well as representing juveniles in delinquency proceedings and parties in dependency proceedings.  We commit ourselves to the goal of ensuring equal justice through quality legal representation, and we employ an accomplished team of professionals to achieve this end: attorneys, legal secretaries, paralegals, investigators, social workers, clerks, law clerks, and specialized interns.  Our exceptional attorneys fight to uphold the constitutional protections the law affords to those accused of crimes, and we dedicate ourselves to the pursuant of “liberty and justice for all.”

    Short video presentations for helping inform the community about the criminal justice system and your rights.

    Mission Statement

    In light of our shared and inherent humanity, we challenge injustice, promote systemic change, and advocate for the fair treatment of all people by providing vigorous representation as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions.


    The Pima County Public Defender’s Office was established in 1970 and began with a handful of lawyers and a few support staff.  The office now employs attorneys, investigators, social workers, mitigation specialists, legal secretaries, paralegals, clerks, and law clerks. The lawyers in our law office have substantial training and experience specializing in criminal defense, juvenile delinquency proceedings, and dependency proceedings. The Pima County Public Defender handles criminal and juvenile cases ranging in serious from misdemeanors and minor felonies such as drug possession to capital homicide cases where the State is seeking the death penalty.

    The Role of the Public Defender

    The Pima County Public Defender represents indigent individuals upon appointment by the Court in felony cases, misdemeanor cases, juvenile delinquency matters, dependency proceedings, and appeals in Pima County.  Criminal offenses which occur within the boundaries of Pima County may also be assigned to the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office, the Pima County Legal Advocate’s Office, or the Office of Court Appointed Counsel.  Misdemeanor cases occurring within the boundaries of the City of Tucson are handled by the City of Tucson Public Defender’s Office with the exception of those misdemeanors that are charged alongside a felony offense. 

    Our Office

    All of us in the Public Defenders Office recognize the need to be vigilant and challenge the justice system to ensure that it meets the promises of the state & federal constitution. The Public Defenders Office is committed to fairness in the justice system. We believe that the rights of the weakest in society must be protected for the benefit of us all and that the protection of the liberty of one, is the protection of the liberty of all. We in our office understand that we can be a powerful tool in securing justice by ensuring that the rights provided for by the state & federal constitution be upheld.

    Our Goals and Objectives are as follows:

    • To ensure the fair, unbiased, and equitable application of criminal justice in Pima County.
    • To stand united in the commitment to serve, honor, and protect the constitutional rights of the Citizens of Pima County.
    • To remain steadfastly dedicated to the principle that no citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without competent, professional, and vigorous representation.
    • To support our clients as diligent and conscientious advocates and maintain the highest levels of professional integrity.


    A Vision for a New Criminal Justice System in Arizona

    by the Arizona Public Defender Association

    Arizona’s criminal justice system is bloated and broken.

    Per capita, Arizona has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the world.  Mandatory minimum and "truth in sentencing" laws have locked up too many people for too long, with no benefit to community safety.  Arizona taxpayers now spend $20,000 more per inmate than they spend per K-12 student. Prosecutors charge so many people with crimes they overload the system, forcing defense attorneys and judges to compromise defendants' basic constitutional rights. Due process of law is no longer guaranteed in our state, and has not been for many years.

    The Arizona Public Defender Association (APDA) exists to improve the quality of legal representation for poor people and to safeguard the constitutional rights of the indigent, thereby protecting the rights of all members of our community. To that end, APDA envisions a criminal justice system anchored in the following constitutional and humanitarian principles.

    1. No one should be deprived of their life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
      • Due process depends on the full disclosure of all evidence in all cases. No defendant can meaningfully evaluate a plea offer before they have seen all the evidence against them. All defendants should have the chance to review all the evidence against them before they are asked to plead guilty to any charge.
      • Admission into a diversion or specialty court program should never be contingent on a defendant pleading guilty before they have a full and fair opportunity to review all of the evidence against them.
      • All defendants should be able to litigate all constitutional, evidentiary, and procedural issues before entering into a plea agreement. Plea agreements should never be altered, revoked or refused because a defendant challenges the constitutionality of evidence produced by the state. 
    2. Judges should be restored to their role as fair and neutral arbiters.
      • Mandatory minimum sentencing places almost all sentencing power in the hands of the prosecutor, who is an advocate and not an unbiased party. Mandatory minimums should be abolished. They are used as leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants, and they create a tremendous, unconstitutional power imbalance between the defense and the prosecution.
      • Judges should have input in the plea bargaining process; it should not be controlled solely by the prosecutor. In our adversarial system one side should not have all of the power to decide what plea is proper, what defendants are offered a plea and when, and when to revoke pleas. These decisions should be more balanced, and not left to the discretion of solely one adversary.
    3. Punishment should always be humane, and not the only goal of the criminal justice system.
      • The criminal justice system no longer seeks to rehabilitate people convicted of crimes. Prisons and jails are brutal places rife with violence, and do not offer educational or behavioral programs anywhere near sufficient to meet the needs of the people inside. Mass incarceration endangers individuals, families, and society by socially exiling system-involved people, which increases recidivism.
      • Incarceration should not be the only sanction for breaking the law. All jurisdictions should create institutions designed to rehabilitate people, correct criminal behavior, and lessen recidivism.
      • Currently the justice system disempowers victims by making their advocates employees of prosecution agencies. This often subjects victims to the control of the prosecution, and allows for the manipulation of victims rights by prosecutors. Crime victims possess constitutional and legal rights entirely separate from the prosecution, and the two groups do not always share common goals or interests. Therefore, victims and their advocates should never be employees of prosecution agencies or otherwise subordinated to the strategic objectives of prosecutors.
      • The criminal justice system should implement principles of restorative justice. Victims and defendants should have their questions answered, and should have the opportunity to see the effect of their actions on the other party. More interactions and conversations between defendants and victims will help make victims whole, and will help reduce recidivism. Every person involved in the criminal justice system should be able to appreciate that justice was done in every case.
      • Prison sentences should be proportional to the seriousness of the crime committed.
      • No person should held in jail before trial unless the state proves by clear and convincing evidence they will be a threat to the community if they are released. Cash bail ensures poor people are punished for crimes they have not been convicted of, while rich people go free. Bail violates equal protection and due process of law, and should be abolished.
      • Sex offenders' failure to maintain up-to-date contact information should be treated as an administrative matter, and offenders who do not register when ordered to do so should be held in civil contempt of court. Sex registration should not be for life, but should always include periodic review hearings and psycho-sexual evaluations to determine if an offender continues to pose a risk for re-offending.
      • Profiting off the warehousing of human beings is modern-day slavery; therefore, private jails and prisons should be abolished. For-profit corporations should also be barred from operating pre-trial release programs, probation and parole programs, psychological treatment programs, and rehabilitation and substance abuse programs.
      • Solitary confinement, natural life sentences, and the death penalty should be abolished. They are inhumane and incompatible with the values of a free, fair, and democratic society.
      • Every jurisdiction should have a robust, independent parole board that takes into account verified scientific studies on criminogenic behavior and recidivism, including findings that people age out of criminal behavior in their 30's.
      • Juvenile criminal justice systems should be abolished and replaced with juvenile rehabilitation systems. Detaining and imprisoning children, and saddling them with felony and misdemeanor convictions exacerbates anti-social behavior and increases the chances children will commit crimes as adults.
      • The school-to-prison pipeline should be closed by not expelling children from school, or charging minor disciplinary and drug infractions as crimes. Whenever a child violates a criminal law their rehabilitation plan should take into account their developmental age, not just their chronological age.
    4. Punishment should end after a person's sentence is complete. No one should be released from prison yet continue to suffer collateral consequences of their conviction for the rest of their life.
      • Because Arizona does not expunge criminal convictions, no matter how minor or old, a person convicted of a felony is a felon for life. This makes it exponentially more difficult for people to find a job, a place to live, and obtain a loan for a home, business or school. This increases the chances people will commit new crimes due to their inability to lawfully support themselves and pursue pro-social goals.
      • Arizona should implement a comprehensive expungement law prioritizing expunging and sealing convictions for non-violent and victimless offenses.
      • All barriers to rehabilitation should be abolished. People should automatically regain all of their civil rights immediately after they have completed their sentence.
      • A person's inability to pay fines and fees should never increase the amount of time they spend on probation or parole, nor should it prevent felonies from being designated misdemeanors. Doing otherwise punishes people for being poor, which violates equal protection and due process of law.
    5. Drug use should be treated as a behavioral health issue, not a criminal violation.
      • The 100+ year old "war on drugs" is a complete failure, because punishment cannot ameliorate the behavioral and psychological origins of substance dependency.
      • Pre-trial detention and prison sentences for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia should be abolished, and treatment and rehabilitation programs created in their place.
    6. Scientific evidence should only be considered if it is reliable, and supported by a consensus of the scientific community.
      • Coerced confessions, unreliable eyewitness identification, and a host of bad forensic science are routinely allowed into evidence in criminal trials. This leads to wrongful convictions and innocent people spending decades behind bars for crimes they did not commit.
      • Each jurisdiction should create an independent panel of qualified scientists, responsible for determining what should and should not be allowed as scientific evidence in criminal proceedings. That decision should be based on verified and replicated scientific studies which have been accepted by a consensus of the scientific community. Only scientific evidence validated by these independent panels should then be considered by courts for admission into evidence at trial, pursuant to the Daubert standards.
      • As recommended by the 2009 National Institute of Justice report, crime laboratories should be run independently from law enforcement agencies. Crime scene technicians and analysts should not be advocates or law enforcement employees, but entirely neutral third parties.

    En Proceso De Construcción

    En las Oficinas de Ley del Defensor Público Condado Pima, estamos comprometidos a la meta de asegurar igualdad en justicia por medio de la calidad en representación legal. Nosotros ocupamos un grupo de funcionarios públicos para alcanzar este fin: abogados, asistentes legales, ayudantes de abogados, investigadores, personal de oficinas, e internados especializados. Nuestro equipo de abogados profesionales procuran mantener las protecciónes constitucionales que la ley otorga a los acusados de crímenes, y nosotros nos dedicamos a la búsqueda de libertad y justicia para todos.

    Declaración de Misión

    De proporcionar sumamente diestra y vigorosa representación de los indígentes acusados de crímines en el Condad Pima, defendiendo inalcanzabemente y buscando expendir los derechos constitucionales garantizados por la Constitución de los Estados Unidos y la Constitución del Estado de Arizona, sin tomar en cuenta los reursos o antecedentes de los acusados.


    La oficina del Defensor Público del Condado Pima fue establecida en 1970 y empezó con un puñado de abogados y personal de oficina. La oficina de hoy emplea 80 abogados, 120 personal de apoyo como investigadores, trabajadores social, ayudantes de abogados, y personal de oficinas legales.  Mas de la mitad de abogados llevan mas de diez años de experiencia especializando en la defensa criminal. Las Oficinas Legales del Defensor Público se encarga de casos que se extienden en seriedad desde cargos menores como crímines daniños o crímines de intrusión sin autorización hasta casos de homicidio capital en donde el estado estará en busca de la pena de muerte.

    El Rol del Defensor Público

    La oficina del Defensor Público representa individuos indígentes asignados por medio de la Corte en casos de felonía, ciertos casos de cargos menores, asuntos en delincuencia juvenil, apelaciónes y audiencias de extradición bajo la jurisdicción de cualquier corte como la Corte Superior del Condado Pima, Corte de Justicia, Corte Juvenil, o la Corte de Apelaciónes Arizona.

    Ofensas Criminales que ocurren dentro de los limites del Condado Pima también pueden ser asignados a las oficinas del Defensor Legal del Condado Pima o a un abogado privado asignado por la corte. Fechorías de naturaleza menor que ocurran dentro los limites de la Ciudad de Tucson están a cargo del Defensor Público de la Ciudad de Tucson, con la excepción de esos cargos menores que están directamente involucrados con ofensas de felonía.

    Information for Clients

    Attorney-Client Consultation

    ~ For the will of the majority to be rightful, it must be reasonable; that the minority posess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. ~ Thomas Jefferson

    The Client's Responsibility

    This is the most important information that you will need to successfully manage your case:


      Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except on holidays; our phone number is 724-6800. Our clients can leave messages in the evenings and on weekends.

      If a client’s attorney is unavailable, the attorney’s support staff may be able to give the client the information he or she needs. The client should always ask the staff if the lawyer is not in.

      If a client is at the Pima County jail, he or she may call our offices using the direct line at the jail. Most attorneys are in court from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m., and many go to the jail in the afternoon. Clients released from the jail should contact their lawyer soon as possible. If a lawyer calls a client, the client should make sure to return the call. All appointments made with the lawyer should be kept, and the client should be prepared and on time.


      Clients can do a lot to help their lawyer prepare their defense. If a lawyer sends a client documents (such as police reports or a grand jury transcript), the client should review them closely, and make notes of any questions to ask, or comments to make to the lawyer.

      All documents received from the lawyer should be marked “ATTORNEY/CLIENT WORK PRODUCT – PRIVILEGED” The client should not show these documents to anyone else, particularly at the Pima County jail. Jailhouse “snitches” are common; they may use these documents to learn about a person’s case, and then make up lies about the person’s “confession.”

      A client can also help a lawyer to locate witnesses that could be helpful to his or her case. Our office has professional investigators who will actually locate and contact the necessary witnesses. These investigators should always be cooperated with fully.


      A client should not talk to anyone–-including friends or relatives—about the facts of the case. Persons that a client talks to could later become witnesses against the person, EVEN IF THEY DO NOT WANT TO. Statements made to those persons can then be used AGAINST the client who made them.

      OUR CLIENTS MUST AVOID GETTING ARRESTED FOR A NEW CRIME. In particular, our clients should be careful about the people they choose to associate with because “hanging out” with the wrong people can still result in the client getting into trouble.

      OUR CLIENTS SHOULD NOT DRINK OR USE DRUGS. If a client has a problem with drugs or alcohol, he or she should tell his lawyer and ask for help. A client’s lawyer can refer him of her to treatment facilities in the community, and a person who admits they have a problem and then takes steps to correct it is looked upon favorably by the Court.

      CLIENTS MUST OBEY ALL PRETRIAL RELEASE CONDITIONS. A person involved with Pretrial Services must not leave the State without permission, and should contact Pretrial Services on a regular basis.



      Persons involved with the criminal justice system will be meeting with or seeing a variety of government officials while their cases are in the system: Pretrial Services, prosecutors, judges, probation officers, and others. Always dress in neat and clean clothes: no jeans, T-shirts, shorts, tank tops or other casual attire.

      Our clients should always be respectful. When they are in front of a judge they should always say “Your Honor,” or “Sir,” or “Ma’am.” They must never lie. They should not slouch, wear hats, or chew gum in court. Body jewelry should be kept to a minimum.

      If a client has a drinking or a drug problem, the Court may require, or the lawyer might ask the client to attend a counseling program. THE CLIENT SHOULD ALWAYS DO IT! If a client takes steps to improve his life, this can be persuasive evidence to a judge or probation officer.


      The clients always get to decide:
      •     Whether to go to trial or take a plea agreement
      •     Whether or not to testify

      The lawyer is responsible for making strategic decisions:
      •     What motions to file
      •     Whether to object to a question in court
      •     What witnesses to call, and so on . . .

      The lawyer will always want to hear a client’s suggestions, and will always offer an opinion about the options a client has. The sentencing laws in Pima County are not favorable to persons accused of crimes, and those charged often face difficult decisions. This can be very stressful. The lawyer’s job is to take some of the pressure of decision-making off the shoulders of the client, but the client still needs to be involved.


      A client should avoid even talking to family or friends about the “crime” because if he or she does, it could make it possible for the State to use those persons as witnesses against the client.

      Felony or Misdemeanor?

      When the police file a complaint against an individual, the crime charged will be either a “misdemeanor” or a “felony.” A felony is more serious than a misdemeanor, and is potentially punishable by a sentence in the state prison system (and a fine of up to $150,000 plus surcharges).

      By contrast, misdemeanors are punishable by no more than six months in the Pima County jail (and a fine of up to $2,500 plus surcharges). Within a few days after the charges are filed, the police meet with the prosecutor (a lawyer for the State of Arizona), who decides whether formal felony charges will be filed.

      General Court Procedures from Arrest through Trial and Appeal

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Does the Public Defender handle matters other than criminal cases?

    By statute, the Public Defender's Office may only handle criminal and juvenile delinquency cases. For civil matters, please contact Southern Arizona Legal Aid at (520) 623-9465 or (800) 234-7252, or Lawyer's Referral Service at (520) 623-4625.

    How do I retain the services of a Public Defender?

    If a person is determined financially unable to retain a private attorney, the courts will appoint the Pima County Public Defender's Office as the legal representative. This appointment usually happens at the first court appearance which is called an initial appearance.

    In the case of a conflict of interest, or where the Public Defender's Office has reached its maximum caseload, the courts may appoint the Pima County Legal Defender's Office or an attorney from the Office of Court Appointed Counsel roster to represent the accused rather than the Pima County Public Defender.

    Can we answer "quick" legal questions?

    Unless you are a client we cannot give legal advice or answer legal questions. If you plan to proceed with your case without an attorney, the Law Library has the reference material to assist you. There is a Law Library at Pima County Superior Court, 110 W. Congress, 2nd floor, phone number (520) 740-8456.

    Can we recommend an attorney?

    We cannot recommend an attorney. However, if you would like assistance in obtaining an attorney, the Lawyer's Referral Service provides referral assistance. Call (520) 623-4625.

    Why are lawyers made available from the Public Defender’s Office?

    Under the United States Constitution we have an adversarial justice system. This means that one lawyer represents the State, another represents the accused. A fair adversarial system requires that the accused and the prosecution have attorneys with equal resources available to them in order to achieve both truth and justice in the courts. Accordingly, under the law as set forth in the United States Constitution, anyone charged with any serious criminal offense in the United States is entitled to have a lawyer representing him whether that person can afford a lawyer or not. A public defender’s sole job is to provide the best defense available to any person he represents that is accused of a serious crime.

    What relationship do Public Defenders have with their clients?

    Our clients are the first and primary concern of lawyers in our office. The lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office are committed to see that our clients are treated fairly and their rights protected throughout the entirety of the justice process.

    How do the lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office stack up against private attorneys?

    Because there are over 70 lawyers defending felony and juvenile charges, the lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office have an enormous choice of resources that are not available to sole practitioners or small law firms. These resources include investigators, law clerks and a dedicated office staff. In addition to this pool of resources, public defenders specialize exclusively in the practice of criminal law. Because of the expertise involved in investigating and defending criminal cases, private attorneys frequently charge between $10,000.00 and up to $50,000.00 or more to defend these cases.

    Do Public Defenders have enough time to devote to the cases assigned to them?

    The Public Defender’s Office is broken up into teams of lawyers. As a result other team members can provide the support of a second lawyer if needed. Trial lawyers consult with their team leaders and other attorneys in the office in seeking strategic assistance in handling their cases. So, while the Public Defender's lawyers have heavy caseloads, the office structure permits trial lawyers to have ongoing help and support in the handling of their caseloads. The office also includes support staff to assist the lawyers in the day to day handling of cases. The attorneys and staff endeavor to provide clients with the best service possible given the resources available.

    Are the Prosecutors, Judges, and Public Defenders paid by Pima County and therefore working together?

    Although the Public Defender’s Office is funded by county government, the office is an independent agency whose lawyers work for their clients exactly as private lawyers do. Lawyers working in the Public Defender’s Office are bound by the Code of Professional Conduct requiring they provide the same responsibilities to their clients that private lawyers do.

    What kind of training do lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office receive?

    There is substantial training made available for lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office. The Public Defender’s Office holds regular training sessions each week in order to ensure their lawyers are up-to-date as to existing case law and practice. In addition to regularly scheduled in-house training the lawyers attend annual statewide training courses and have the option of participating in training courses throughout the country in order to improve their trial skills. All lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office undergo continuing legal education required by the State Bar of Arizona. Public Defenders also go through regular office evaluations to ensure that they are maintaining the highest professional standards in the course of their duties.

    Are lawyers in the Public Defender’s Office sufficiently qualified to be able to handle serious felony cases?

    The Public Defender’s Office always has far more job applicants than available jobs. There is a rigorous selection process that occurs at the hiring level at the Public Defender’s Office to ensure that the only people with the highest qualifications are hired. Once hired, lawyers are then required to go through a training period before being assigned to their trial team. Lawyers then maintain a regular training schedule as prescribed by the office.

    What is the difference between a Public Defender, the Legal Defender, and an attorney in the private sector?

    The Legal Defender’s Office is similar to the Public Defender’s Office. Legal Defenders however represent people that the Public Defenders are not able to represent because of conflicts of interest or other legal reasons. The Office of Court Appointed Counsel provides a roster of private lawyers available for appointment to represent other indigents that cannot obtain the Public or Legal Defender to represent them. These lawyers work under the Office of Court Appointed Counsel to ensure the availability of additional lawyers when the Legal Defender’s and Public Defender’s caseloads become too great. Any person charged with a crime is at liberty to hire their own private counsel to represent them.

    Are Public Defenders available to represent clients outside of the criminal justice system?

    Public Defenders by law are restricted to representing persons accused of serious crimes in Pima County through the Public Defender’s Office. By law, Public Defenders are prohibited from defending anybody on any matter other than cases assigned to their office.

    Is a parent entitled to information about their child's case? 

    Juvenile public defenders attempt to include parents and guardians in all aspects of representation of the juvenile if possible.  However, if the juvenile does not want their parent present or does not want certain information shared with a parent then the attorney is required to keep that information confidential. 


    If a child is placed in detention how long will they be there?

    Children are required to have a hearing if they are placed in detention they are required to have a hearing within 24 hours.  They can remain in detention longer than that if the Judge so orders.  An attorney from the Public Defender’s Office will assist the minor at that hearing.



    If a child has an outstanding warrant how can it be quashed?

    Please contact the Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Division, at 520-724-2994, or the Juvenile Court, at 520-724-2000, for information on quashing a juvenile warrant.  Warrants can be quashed on a walk-in basis.


    Are children entitled to Court appointed lawyers? ?

    Yes.  The case of In re: Gault guarantees children accused of crimes the right to representation.  The Court will appoint the Public Defender’s Office, or another Court approved lawyer, to represent a child who is accused of a crime.

    I was arrested and/or charged as a Juvenile, but am now over the age of 18.  Am I able to have my Juvenile record destroyed?

    Most people are eligible to request destruction of juvenile justice/delinquency records when they turn 18, provided that they have successfully completed their assigned consequences and have no currently pending adult matters  (including fines) pending in the Pima County Superior Court , Pima County Justice Court, or any City Court located within Pima County. 

    For more information on this process, please visit our Juvenile Records Destruction page for full details.



    Employment Opportunities

    The Pima County Public Defender periodically reviews applications for qualified Attorneys, Legal Office Support Specialists (Legal Secretary), Legal Assistants, Social Workers, Interns and Volunteers.  All other positions are filled on an as-needed basis.

    The Pima County Public Defender’s Office offers the opportunity for Attorneys to:

    • Practice criminal law or assist in the practice of criminal law in a professional environment with a team of respected and experienced attorneys, using a team approach to the handling of cases.
    • Participate in year-long training programs for new and inexperienced lawyers.
    • Develop leadership responsibilities in the training and supervision of other lawyers.
    • Participate in a program that provides practice mentors and trial assistance.
    • Focus on ensuring that justice is balanced by protecting the constitutional rights of our clients.
    • Work in an environment that includes attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries, criminal investigators, clerical, administrative, and computer support personnel.
    • Participate in excellent in-house, State, County, and National training opportunities which far exceed the continuing legal education (CLE) requirements as established by the State Bar of Arizona.
    • Work in a modern office environment across the street from the Pima County Superior Court House.
    • Utilize computerized research assets such as Westlaw and an office motion bank, as well as the availability of a comprehensive criminal law library.
    • Work in an exciting and dynamic law office dedicated to assisting those people in our society least able to defend themselves.
    • Take advantage of an excellent benefits package (Pima County Human Resources).

    Application Process

    Interested applicants may obtain for review the official job descriptions for the various positions, Pima County Benefits information, and submit an application at the Pima County Human Resources page. All job applications and resumes must be completed and submitted to the Pima County Human Resources Department. All job openings in Pima County Government are open and competitive unless otherwise noted.

    Brief Descriptions of Position Duties and Requirements

    Attorney I and Attorney II

    Description: Coordinates and conducts professional legal work in and out of the courtroom. An attorney may specialize in one or more areas of law such as juvenile or appellate practice and may supervise assigned personnel.  

    Training and Experience: Graduation from an accredited school of law, admission to the Arizona State Bar at the time of appointment, and a commitment to work on the behalf of indigent clients.

    For a full list of duties/responsibilities as well as other requirements, please see the full job description.

    Note: In addition to the Pima County Employment Application, applicants for the Attorney position must also fill out the Supplemental Application for Attorneys.

    Salary: Salary depends on experience with a minimum salary for Attorney I $68,00 and Attorney II minimum salary $79,000.

    Legal Secretary

    Description: Under general supervision performs work of moderate difficulty performing a variety of legal secretarial or specialized legal/clerical tasks in direct support of a legal function and performs related work as required. For a full list of duties/responsibilities and requirements please see the full job description.

    Salary depends on experience with a minimum salary of $34,320.


    Description: Under general supervision performs legal work of moderate difficulty assisting lawyers in case preparation and performing related work as required. For a full list of duties/responsibilities and requirements please see the full job description.

    Salary depends on experience with a minimum salary of $41,912.

    Defense Investigator

    Description: Under direction, performs work of unusual difficulty conducting highly complex and specialized investigations and preparing documentation for presentation in court, and performs related work as required. For a full list of duties/responsibilities and requirements please see the full job description.

    Salary: Salary depends on experience with a minimum salary of

    Law Clerk

    The Pima County Public Defender welcomes applications from potential law clerks. Law clerk positions are full-time (40 hours/week) with benefits including healthcare, HSAs, retirement, and paid sick and vacation leave.   Law clerks are expected to be recent law graduates who are either (a) awaiting bar results or character and fitness results OR (b) are currently preparing to take the bar.  All applicants must demonstrate an interest in remaining at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office after their clerkship as a trial attorney, as our main trial attorney hiring pipeline is from the pool of experienced law clerks.

    Individuals interested in becoming a law clerk practitioner with this office should contact Law Clerk and Intern Supervisor Meighan LaFata Meighan.LaFata@pima.gov for more information on the program.

    39(c) Students

    The Pima County Public Defender welcomes law student practitioners each academic semester, pursuant to Rule 39(c) of the Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court, in connection with the University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law Criminal Defense Clinic. Law student practitioners gain critical practice experience through direct representation of clients at all phases of criminal cases under the supervision of a licensed attorney.  Students learn such skills as effective oral advocacy through regular court appearances, client interviewing and relationship building, motions writing and argumentation, plea bargaining, sentencing preparation and advocacy, witness interviewing, and trial strategy development and implementation. Individuals interested in becoming a law student practitioner with this office should contact Professor Sarah Kostick at sarah.kostick@pima.gov or skostick@email.arizona.edu for more information on the program and how to register through the University of Arizona’s Law School.

    Graduate and Undergraduate Interns

    The Public Defender provides opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in unpaid criminal defense internships during the fall and spring semesters and over the summer.  The office also has a summer Federal Work Study (FWS) program that allows for paid FWS law clerks who have been approved for a FWS program through their law school. Interns assist attorneys and staff in such tasks as reviewing and summarizing records and reports, meeting with clients at the jail, observing court proceedings, and preparing mitigation materials.  For more information on criminal defense internships, please contact Law Clerk and Intern Supervisor Meighan LaFata at Meighan.Lafata@pima.gov.  

    Additional internships are available in the Public Defender dependency unit.  For additional information regarding dependency internships, please contact Dependency Unit Team Leader Derek Koltunovich at derek.koltunovich@pima.gov

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    Public Defender

    33 N. Stone Ave., 21st Flr
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone:  (520) 724-6800
    Fax:   (520) 770-4168

    Monday - Friday
    8 a.m. - 5 p.m., except on holidays

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