Exam Bulletin - Deputy State Public Defender

State Public Defender

Exam Code: EX-1064

Examination Plans Included:


Final Filing Date: 7/29/2020

Classification Details

DEPUTY STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER: $6,946.00 - $12,140.00 per Month


Application Instructions

Final Filing Date: 7/29/2020.

Examination/Employment Application (STD 678) must be received or postmarked by the filing date indicated above. Applications postmarked, personally delivered or received via interoffice mail after the filing date will not be accepted.

Candidates are required to submit: Standard State Application (STD 678), a writing sample and a resume or curriculum vitae.

The state application and resume/curriculum vitae should provide a complete history of the applicant’s employment in field of law, including the type of law the applicant has practiced with each employer and the length of time applicant practiced each type of law. If the applicant practiced more than one type of law with an employer, he or she should state the percentage of time spent in each area of law with that employer.

The writing sample should demonstrate the most legally complex brief or pleading the applicant has filed. The applicant must be the principal author of any writing sample submitted. Other legal writing samples (i.e., academic or expository) will also be accepted. Writing samples will be evaluated on the complexity of the legal issues, the adequacy and clarity of the factual recitation, the extent and soundness of the legal analysis, the persuasiveness of the argument, and the overall writing quality (including organization, structure, clarity, grammar, punctuation, syntax, use of citations).

The state application, resume/curriculum vitae and writing sample must receive or postmarked no later than the final filing date. Faxed application will NOT be accepted.

Who Should Apply:

The information below will help you determine which classification(s) is(are) appropriate for you. Applicants must meet the Minimum Qualifications as stated on this bulletin to compete in this examination.

Open and Open, Non-Promotional Examination(s):


This is an open examination for the State Public Defender.

Candidates who meet the education and experience requirements listed in the “Minimum Qualifications” section on this announcement my apply for this examination.

How To Apply:

Submit an Examination/Employment Application (STD 678) to apply for this examination.

Electronic applications can be submitted through your account at www.CalCareers.ca.gov.

You may apply by mail to:

  • State Public Defender
    Human Resources
    770 L Street, Suite 1000
    Sacramento, CA 95814

Indicate the Examination Code and Classification(s) on your Examination/Employment Application (STD 678).

You may apply in person at:

  • State Public Defender
    Human Resources
    770 L Street, Suite 1000
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Filing Start Time: 7/15/2020 8:00:00 AM
    Filing End Time: 7/29/2020 5:00:00 PM

Indicate the Examination Code and Classification(s) on your Examination/Employment Application (STD 678). All applicants must provide proof of identification. Accepted forms of identification are: 1) a photo identification card or 2) two forms of signed identification.

The following items must be submitted with your Examination/Employment Application form. Failure to submit these items may result in rejection of your application.

  • Other - A writing sample (See the “Application Instructions” section for writing sample requirements)
  • Other - A resume/curriculum vitae (See the “Application Instructions” section for the resume/curriculum vitae requirements)

Special Testing Arrangements:

If you require assistance or alternative testing arrangements due to a disability, indicate on your application that you need reasonable accommodation. You will be contacted by a representative of the testing department to make the necessary arrangements. If you have not been contacted by the time you receive notification of testing, please contact the testing department listed in the Contact section of this bulletin.

If you are unable to submit your application or complete the test due to a disability, please contact the testing department listed in the Contact section of this bulletin.

Minimum Qualifications

All applicants must meet the education and/or experience requirements as stated on this exam bulletin to be accepted to the examination.


All applicants are required to have active membership in the California State Bar. (Applicants who are not members of the California State Bar but who are eligible to take the California State Bar examination or are in their final year of law school will be admitted to the examination but will not be considered eligible for appointment until they are admitted to the State Bar.)                 

Two years of experience performing legal duties in any combination of: (1) practice before trial or appellate courts, or (2) research and writing opinions for appellate courts. (Applicants who have completed eighteen months of the required experience will be admitted to the examination but must complete two years of such experience before they will be eligible for appointment)

Position Description


Representation of individuals convicted of non-capital and capital offenses in direct appeals, petitions for rehearing, and petitions for writ of mandate before the California Courts of Appeal and the California Supreme Court, as well as petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court; capital appeals also include practice before the superior courts.  Candidates possess sufficient experience in drafting the pleadings necessary for such proceedings to allow them to undertake significant roles in the development and presentation of complex factual and legal issues in appropriate venues, including the state superior courts, courts of appeal, the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.  Candidates must have skills necessary to deliver oral argument presentations to the various courts in which OSPD practices. 

Incumbents in this class are experienced criminal defense attorneys capable of performing a wide variety of difficult legal work with increased independence and responsibility. Incumbents are typically appointed at Range A, B or C based upon the appropriate alternate range criteria, and upon the recommendation of the appointing power. 

Examination Information

This examination will be given in August or September 2020.

This examination consists of the following components:

  • Interview : A passing score must be achieved and is weighted 100% of the final score.

A final score of 70% must be attained to be placed on the eligible list.

In addition to evaluating the applicant's relative knowledge, skill and ability as demonstrated by quality and breadth of education/experience, emphasis in each test component will be on measuring competitively, relative to job demands, each applicant's:

The emphasis in the Qualifications Appraisal Panel Exam will be on, relative to job demands, the following: 


Each competitor’s knowledge of:


  1. Legal principles and application to criminal cases;
  2. Appellate proceedings;
  3. Scope and character of California statutory law and of the provisions of the California Constitution and United States Constitution;
  4. Legal research methods;
  5. Rules of evidence and conduct of proceedings in trial and appellate courts of California and the United States; and
  6. Duties and powers of the State Public Defender.


Each competitor’s ability to: 


  1. Prepare, present, and handle legal cases;
  2. Perform legal research and investigations;
  3. Analyzing difficult and complex legal programs, apply legal principles and precedents to particular sets of facts;
  4. Present statements of fact, law, and argument clearly and logically in written and oral form;
  5. Analyze transcripts and decisions;
  6. Handle difficult legal correspondence;
  7. Direct the work of a Legal Analyst; and
  8. Analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action.

      Eligible List Information

      A Departmental Open eligible list for the DEPUTY STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER Classification will be established for:

      • State Public Defender

      The list(s) will be abolished 12 months after being established, unless the needs of the State and conditions of the list(s) warrant a change in this period.

      Employment from this examination may be offered in Alameda or Sacramento County.

      Veterans' Preference will be granted for this examination. In accordance with Government Codes 18973.1 and 18973.5, whenever any veteran, widow or widower of a veteran, or spouse of a 100 percent-disabled veteran achieves a passing score on an open examination, he or she shall be ranked in the top rank of the resulting eligibility list. This section shall not apply to any veteran who has been dishonorably discharged or released.

      Veteran status is verified by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Directions to apply for Veterans' Preference are on the Veterans' Preference Application (Std. Form 1093), which is available at www.CalCareers.ca.gov, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

      Career Credits are not granted for examination(s) administered on an Open basis or a Promotional basis.

      Definitions of Terms

      Experience in “performing legal duties” is defined as:


      Legal experience acquired after admission to any State Bar, or experience as a judicial clerk for a federal court, California state courts, or any other state’s courts, to constitute experience in the practice of law. For an individual’s judicial clerkship to qualify as experience in the practice of law or performing legal duties, the experience must have been gained after receipt of Juris Doctor or equivalent degree.

      Testing Departments

      • State Public Defender

      Contact Information

      Questions regarding this examination should be directed to:

      State Public Defender
      Twanna Moore
      Human Resources
      770 L Street, Suite 1000
      Sacramento, CA 95814
      Phone: (916) 322-2676


      California Relay Service: 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (Voice) TTY is a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, and is reachable only from phones equipped with a TTY Device.

      Equal Opportunity Employer

      The State of California is an equal opportunity employer to all, regardless of age, ancestry, color, disability (mental and physical), exercising the right to family care and medical leave, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), and sexual orientation.

      Drug Free Statement

      It is an objective of the State of California to achieve a drug-free State work place. Any applicant for State employment will be expected to behave in accordance with this objective, because the use of illegal drugs is inconsistent with the law of the State, the rules governing civil service, and the special trust placed in public servants.

      General Information

      Examination and/or Employment Application (STD 678) forms are available at the California Department of Human Resources, local offices of the Employment Development Department, and through your CalCareer Account (www.CalCareers.ca.gov).

      If you meet the requirements stated on this examination bulletin, you may take this examination, which is competitive. Possession of the entrance requirements does not assure a place on the eligible list. Your performance in the examination described in this bulletin will be rated against a predetermined job-related rating, and all applicants who pass will be ranked according to their scores.

      State Public Defender reserves the right to revise the examination plan to better meet the needs of the service, if the circumstances under which this examination was planned change. Such revision will be in accordance with civil service laws and rules and all applicants will be notified.

      General Qualifications: Applicants must possess essential personal qualifications including integrity, initiative, dependability, good judgment, the ability to work cooperatively with others, and a state of health consistent with the ability to perform the assigned duties of the class. A medical examination may be required. In open examinations, investigation may be made of employment records and personal history and fingerprinting may be required.

      Eligible Lists: Eligible lists established by competitive examination, regardless of date, must be used in the following order: 1) sub-divisional promotional, 2) departmental promotional, 3) multi-departmental promotional, 4) service-wide promotional, 5) departmental open, 6) open. When there are two lists of the same kind, the older must be used first. Eligible lists will expire in one to four years unless otherwise stated on the bulletin.

      High School Equivalence: Equivalence to completion of the 12th grade may be demonstrated in any one of the following ways: 1) passing the General Education Development (GED) Test; 2) completion of 12 semester units of college-level work; 3) certification from the State Department of Education, a local school board, or high school authorities that the competitor is considered to have education equivalent to graduation from high school; or 4) for clerical and accounting classes, substitution of business college work in place of high school on a year-for-year basis.

      Accepted applicants must provide proof of identification at each in-person test session. Acceptable identification consists of a photo identification card or two forms of signed identification.

      Application Methods:
      Electronic (Your CalCareer Account)
      By Mail
      In Person (see bulletin for details)
      Alternate Application Process

      While we recommend that you utilize your CalCareer Account to take advantage of all the tools available, you may choose to apply for this examination without using your account. In this case, print and complete the Exam Application Package Checklist and include it if you submit a hard copy application.

      Exam Application Package Checklist

      Blank Application Form (STD678)

      Accommodation Request (STD679)