City and County of San Francisco

Public Defenders Investigator (#8142)

$46.08-$56.00 Hourly / $7,986.00-$9,707.00 Monthly / $95,836.00-$116,480.00 Yearly


Under general supervision, performs responsible investigative work in connection with criminal and juvenile complaints and offenses under the jurisdiction of the Public Defender’s Office; and assists in the preparation and defense of criminal cases in the Superior Court.

Requires responsibility for interpreting and carrying out existing methods and procedures relating to investigative activities of the public defender’s office; making responsible contacts with law enforcement officials, outside agencies and organizations; other departmental officials and the general public in connection with investigative activities; gathering, preparing and maintaining important investigation records..

Distinguishing Features

This is the journey level class in the series.  Class 8142 is distinguished from class 8143 Senior Public Investigator in that the latter may supervise and review the work of the former.

Supervision Exercised


Examples of Important and Essential Duties

According to Civil Service Commission Rule 109, the duties specified below are representative of the range of duties assigned to this job code/class and are not intended to be an inclusive list.

1. Conducts investigations of a wide variety of criminal cases to provide support for legal defense in fraud, homicide, other felonies and misdemeanor charges; reviews documents in criminal and juvenile cases and identifies, evaluates and collects information, data and evidence. Visits scenes, develops leads, contacts and sources of information, interviews witnesses, victims, law enforcement officials, representatives of agencies and other particulars to gather statements and information on events surrounding cases; this includes visiting and interviewing patients, mentally ill clients, doctors and members of the family; and serves subpoenas.

2. Collects and evaluates physical and material evidence and discusses findings with attorneys to determine crime connection and admissibility in trial; takes photographs and measurements, locates witnesses, conducts background investigations and uncovers inconsistencies during the course of the investigation; testifies in court on matters regarding evidence and investigative findings.

3. Maintains complete records of investigative activities; this includes the contacts made, findings of evidence, collected statements, description of scenes, analysis of cases and other information relevant to the defense; and prepares investigative reports.

4. Performs related duties as required.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of: applicable laws and legal techniques, principles and procedures used in conducting criminal defense investigations, and understanding and working with attorneys to understand the elements of and defenses to crimes as they relate to each particular case;

Ability to: review and analyze discovery in criminal and juvenile cases; identify, evaluate and collect information, data and evidence in the course of investigations; exercise discretion, independent judgment, critical thinking and problem solve in a timely and efficient manner;; detect and uncover discrepancies and inconsistencies; prioritize work by planning and organizing multiple work assignment; work effectively and reliably in teams with attorneys, paralegals, other investigators, experts, and department support staff; establish rapport, and interact professionally; verbally communicate clearly and accurately with diverse groups of people, including clients, clients’ families, attorneys, department support staff, field contacts, institutional contacts, court personnel, law enforcement personnel, witnesses and the general public; communicate and express ideas in writing ; use a working knowledge of vocabulary and grammar; prepare correspondence and reports in a clear understandable manner; promote, establish and maintain a cooperative relationship with individuals, groups, officials, representative and general public; interact tactfully, courteously and diplomatically with others; work effectively in an objective and impartial manner; with cultural sensitivity to various groups of people.

Skill to: operate a motor vehicle and operate/ learn to operate computer equipment, electronic devices and investigation related equipment.

Experience and Training

These minimum qualifications establish the education, training, experience, special skills and/or license(s) which are required for employment in the classification. Please note, additional qualifications (i.e., special conditions) may apply to a particular position and will be stated on the exam/job announcement.

1. Two (2) years of verifiable experience as a public defender’s investigator, district attorney’s investigator or licensed administrative and/or law enforcement investigator, or licensed private investigator. Experience must include performing investigative work in connection with administrative, juvenile petitions, criminal and/or civil crimes, complaints and offenses; OR

2. Two (2) years of comparable and verifiable experience as a professional investigator in criminal matters involving cases of crimes, complaints, or offenses, including interviewing witnesses, examining crime scenes, and investigating circumstances of alleged criminal conduct; OR

3. Possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in Criminal Justice, Forensics or related field, such as Sociology, Political Science, Psychology or Journalism AND one (1) year of verifiable investigator training or verifiable experience performing investigative work in a professional field, such as law, media/journalism, public health/welfare, human/civil rights, business (ie. finance, insurance), education, social sciences, public policy, government, non-profit or related field.

Applicants may substitute up to 2 years of the required education with additional qualifying experience as described in section #3 above. One year (2000 hours) of additional qualifying experience will be considered equivalent to 30 semester units/45 quarter units. 



License or Certificate

Possession of a valid driver's license.


Established: 5/10/1962

Amended:  8/2/1976; 8/29/2001; 10/24/2013

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.

CLASS: 8142; EST: 1/1/1900; REV: 10/24/2014;