Alternate Public Defender


In 1988, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to create an office with the mission of defending those people charged with crimes and who are unable to pay an attorney.  That office is called the Public Defender.  Within the Law Offices of the Public Defender are four separate glass-walled offices.  The Law Office of the Alternate Public Defender is one of the four offices. The Alternate Public Defender was established by the Board of Supervisors in 1990. 

On occasion more than one person is charged with the commission of the same crime.  It would be a conflict of interest for the same office to represent all defendants charged in the case.  As a result, the Board of Supervisors voted to create a second public defender office in 1990.  This office is called the Alternate Public Defender.  The APD is responsible for defending those cases where the Public Defender has a conflict of interest or is unable to defend the individual for various reasons.

The Alternate Public Defender's Office currently has a staff of over 50 Deputy Alternate Public Defenders, Investigators, Support Staff and Volunteers. The mission of the Alternate Public Defender is to ensure that the right to competent and effective defense counsel is a reality for the indigent in San Diego County by always seeking the best ethical and legal outcomes possible through skilled and vigorous representation.

The Office of the Alternate Public Defender is comprised of two divisions. The Adult Criminal Division represents indigent persons accused of a crime. The Juvenile Delinquency Division represents minors accused of truancy or criminal offenses. The Alternate Public Defender maintains offices in downtown San Diego, El Cajon, South Bay, Vista, and Kearny Mesa. Our lawyers handle adult criminal matters in all locations. Juvenile delinquency cases are handled in the Kearny Mesa office.

I hope this web site will contribute to an understanding of how this office and the criminal justice system functions. Included are links to other web sites and e-mail addresses of other members of the criminal justice community which will afford you easy access to needed information.

I welcome the opportunity to provide superior legal representation to the residents of San Diego County. Thank you for your interest in this office and its mission. Feel free to contact me or my staff should you need further information or assistance.

Megan Marcotte

Chief Deputy Alternate Public Defender