Student Intern Position Description
Title: Santa Cruz County Public Defender Investigative Intern

Name and Location of Agency:
Santa Cruz County Public Defender’s Office
2103 N. Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 426-2656 – Phone
(831) 429-5664 – Fax

Functions of the Agency:
The role of the Public Defender’s Office is to provide quality legal representation to indigent clients accused of a crime. People who cannot afford to a hire an attorney have a constitutional right to a court-appointed attorney, which in most cases is the Public Defender. This office employs about 23 attorneys and 8 full-time investigators.

Intern Duties and Responsibilities:
Investigative Interns will be assigned to the Investigations Bureau of the Santa Cruz County Public Defender’s Office. You will work alongside senior investigators and trial attorneys. Assignments will include the defense of misdemeanor charges like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, petty theft, domestic violence, and sometimes more serious felony charges. Duties include writing letters to request records from law enforcement agencies, medical facilities and other agencies. You will be asked to prepare and serve subpoenas, locate and interview witnesses, and write detailed reports based on those interviews. Interns are often asked
to take photographs of physical evidence and crime scenes as well as measurements. You will use various resources and databases commonly utilized to locate witnesses and gather background information.

Spanish-speaking interns will also be asked to assist in interpreting for attorneys and clients during their meetings at the office or inside the Santa Cruz County Jail facilities. They will also be asked to translate written documents or transcribe audio recordings such as jail calls and/or audio recordings of statements made to law enforcement.

Educational Requirements:
This internship is best suited for undergraduate students majoring in Legal Studies/Politics, Latin American and Latino Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Community Studies, or related fields. In addition, students contemplating law school or studying for the LSAT will find this internship extremely valuable. Graduate students are also encouraged to apply.

Skills, Training or Qualifications:
The following qualifications are preferred: the ability to take direction well, have a good attitude, work well with others, have strong organizational skills, and speak, read and write well in English. Good communication skills, punctuality and general maturity are a must. Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply. Interns will participate in a mandatory 16-hour training program prior to starting the internship. Interns will continue to receive on the job training from the Supervising Chief Investigator. They will also have the opportunity to observe court proceedings and attend the weekly investigator training sessions.

Additional Requirements:
Because travel throughout Santa Cruz County and nearby counties is necessary, interns must have a valid driver license and access to a reliable vehicle. Interns must also have a cell phone.

Time Commitment:
A minimum of 16-24 hours per week for at least two consecutive quarters or one semester is required. Hours may be scheduled Monday through Friday only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Applicants willing to extend the duration of their internship typically gain a more in-depth experience. Because of the training and work involved, there are two internship sessions per
year. The Summer and Fall Quarter internship starts in late June and goes through the end of the Fall Quarter. The Winter and Spring Quarter internship starts in early January and goes through the end of the Spring Quarter.

Benefits Available to Intern:
In this unpaid internship, interns are offered an opportunity to explore career options, build their resumes, network with professionals in their field of interest and gain hands-on experience in a legal setting. This internship offers students an opportunity to experience real-life situations within a legal office setting that complements their academic studies and career goals. This is a unique opportunity to get an insider’s perspective on the workings of the criminal justice system. Further, many students have been able to obtain class credits for this internship.

Applying for the Internship:
Please submit a resume and cover letter by email to:
No phone calls please.

Your cover letter is your opportunity to help us understand why you are the best candidate for this position. It provides a chance to elaborate on your background as listed in your resume. It also demonstrates written communication skills and styles. It allows a more in-depth description of career goals, personal interests, academic accomplishments, and community involvement.

Share your expectations of the internship experience, including what you would like to accomplish, what issues/projects/assignments are of particular interest, and what skills, knowledge and expertise you hope to gain. Be sure to also include the approximate date (or
dates) that you can start the internship and the preferred duration. Applications for the Summer and Fall Quarter internship are accepted through April with selections made in May. Applications for the Winter and Spring Quarter internship are accepted
through October with selections made in November.

Santa Cruz County Public Defender’s Office
Attn: Supervising Chief Investigator – Jack Alcantara, J.D.
2103 N. Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

*Updated March, 2018