A Message from the Public Defender
It is my pleasure to welcome you to our newly redesigned website. I hope that you’ll learn more about what the Public Defender’s Office has to offer and find what you’re looking for here.
My name is Brendon Woods and I was appointed Public Defender of Alameda County in 2012. I am the first Black Public Defender in Alameda County’s history and have spent my entire career here, beginning right after law school when I joined the office as a law clerk in 1996. This office has a long, storied reputation as a distinguished provider of public defense and I am devoted to both continuing to ensure that our clients get the finest defense, and to expanding our services to address some of our communities’ other unmet needs.
I am lucky to work with a team of over two hundred staff members – all of whom are public defenders at heart – consisting of over 110 lawyers, plus support staff, investigators, social workers, immigration attorneys and more. This office truly has some of the brightest, most dedicated people out there.
I bring my personal perspective and experience as a Black man in America to this work and to my vision for the future of this office. I witnessed first-hand the havoc the criminal legal system wreaked on members of my own family growing up, so I understand deeply the injustices that face all people, but particularly Black and brown people, in the legal system. Addressing this is part of my mission as the Public Defender. I hope that with each success we have, with each case won, with each injustice avoided, we are improving our community. And I hope that our reputation and our holistic defense model might inspire others to follow suit. It is my belief that public defenders are uniquely suited to advance criminal justice reform, fight systemic racism, and end mass incarceration. I hope to lead by example.
In light of a very difficult 2020 and 2021 with Black Lives Matter protests erupting in response to the murder of George Floyd, while a pandemic surged putting our most vulnerable community members in harm’s way, this work is more important than ever.
I always say I have the best job in the world. I am honored to serve the people of Alameda County as Public Defender.
You can learn more about me and our office by browsing the site and following us on social media.