Jeffrey E. Gorder
Timothy R. Pappas
Assistant Public Defender
The mission of the Shasta County Public Defender Office is to provide effective legal representation to those persons who do not possess the present means to hire an attorney in criminal cases, juvenile delinquency proceedings, mental health commitments, and quasi-criminal (i.e. contempt of court) cases in which a right of legal representation is provided by law. Every person will be treated with courtesy and respect.
The following Goals are the primary function of the Department:
- Provide effective legal representation to those persons who do not possess the present means to hire an attorney in criminal cases, juvenile commitment proceedings, mental health commitments, and quasi-criminal cases in which a right of legal representation is provided by law;
- After initial appointment, ensure that every client is physically seen before their next meaningful court date;
- Protect the constitutional rights of every client;
- Provide competent personnel to ensure the Goals and Mission of the Department are accomplished; and
- Ensure that the Department operates effectively, efficiently and ethically in a cost effective manner.
Public Defender services are mandated by the Federal and State Constitutions, and state law. The rationale of this mandate is based on one of the most important protections that exist in a free society: the right to counsel. The right to counsel, especially where the government uses its vast powers to deprive an individual of his or her freedom, is one of those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of our civil and political institutions. This right to counsel, however, is a meaningless right if it is dependent on the financial ability of a person to hire an attorney. Therefore, the law requires the government to provide competent and effective legal counsel to a person, in certain enumerated cases, who cannot presently provide the means to hire an attorney.