Oregon Public Defense Commission

  • Salem

Who we are:

The Oregon Public Defense Commission (OPDC) is a 13-member commission appointed by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court based on input from all three branches of Government. The Commission serves as the governing body for Oregon’s public defense system. The Commission provides policy direction and oversight for the administration of the system. The legal services provided by OPDC represent an essential component of Oregon’s public safety system.

The mission of OPDC is to ensure constitutionally competent and effective legal representation for persons eligible for a public defender.

The office includes the Executive Division, the Appellate Division, the Trial Division, the Trial Development & Resources Division, and the Administrative Services Division. The agency negotiates contracts with trial level public defense providers and administers and distributes funds for representation and related services for cases during the biennium for criminal, juvenile, and civil commitment cases. The agency provides compliance and oversight to the trial community providers through quality assurance practices, training, and education. Financial Services processes all expenses related to representation in public defense cases. The Appellate Division provides direct legal representation in the state appellate courts in criminal cases, juvenile dependency and termination of parental rights cases, and parole cases. Other services in the agency include, Data Collection and Analysis, General Counsel, Human Resources, Information Technology Services, Internal Audit, and Policy Development.

In June 2023, the Oregon Legislature approved funding to establish a trial-level public defense program by hiring counsel and supporting staff, including paralegals, secretaries, and investigators, as state employees through OPDC. The program focuses in three geographic regions of the state to respond to the unrepresented defendant/persons crisis. OPDC is looking to hire three (3) Senior Deputy Defenders for a Central Valley Trial Division. The Location of these positions will be in Salem, OR and the office will serve defendants in the surrounding area.

Primary Purpose of this Position:

The Trial Division are Public Defenders who provide court appointed legal representation and advocacy to indigent clients who are charged with criminal offenses in the circuit courts in the State of Oregon. Public Defender attorneys are expected to represent clients from arraignment through filing of post-trial motions. There will also be occasional pre-indictment representations. Case types will include misdemeanors, lesser and major felonies, serious sexual offenses, murder prosecutions, and occasionally initial commitment proceedings. There is also an expectation that Public Defenders will act as informal mentors and advisers to other staff attorneys in the office as they gain experience.