The Public Defender’s Investigation Unit is made up of 19 highly skilled investigators who work alongside the office’s attorneys from arraignment through trial to provide the highest quality of legal representation to our clients. The investigators are integral to the defense team and have a critical role in client advocacy and holistic defense.

Our investigators diligently conduct competent, thorough, comprehensive, and confidential investigations using innovative and creative methods to support and challenge a client-focused defense strategy that aligns with our commitment to compassionate and inspired legal representation.

Who We Are

Our investigators come from a variety of backgrounds, professional experiences, and educational achievement that informs their unique and passionate approach to defense investigation. At a minimum, an investigator has earned their bachelor’s degree - usually in criminal justice, psychology, or sociology; some have advanced degrees; and most have undergone several hours of training in the specialized field of defense investigation.

Our Work

Our investigators spend many hours working in the neighborhoods and communities of the Bay Area, and, when necessary, will “go the distance” metaphorically and in real time to locate and interview witnesses, serve subpoenas, obtain important documents, surveillance video, cell phone records; photograph and diagram crime scenes, and collect and preserve material evidence. This list is an abbreviated summary of an investigator’s duties and in no way represents the totality of our responsibilities. Our mission and accomplishments are not solely results oriented, and our value is immeasurable considering its impact on the lives, livelihoods, and liberties of those we represent.


If you are interested in a career as a Public Defender Investigator, we invite you to check out the Alameda County Human Resources website at There you can read the job description and qualifications of the various Public Defender Investigator classifications and sign up to be notified when a recruitment opens.


If you’re a college student who has an interest in a career as a Public Defender Investigator, we invite you to apply to our internship program. Our intern program allows you to work for the Public Defender’s Office and gain knowledge and experience in the field of defense investigations. If you are an advocate for the accused, and believe in representing and protecting one’s Constitutional rights, please feel free to complete one of our online applications. If you have questions, please contact Chief Investigator Stephani Johnson at

DISCLAIMER: This site is meant to provide information of a general nature which you should verify with an attorney before relying upon it. It does not provide legal advice and is not meant to establish an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice you should ALWAYS contact an attorney.