The motto of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office reads “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Founded in 1944, the Public Defender has been a voice for the poor, providing legal representation to those unable to afford a lawyer in criminal, juvenile, mental health, and dependency cases.
With over 185 Public Defenders, Alternate Defenders, and Associate Defenders, the department has been recognized as a leader nationwide in safeguarding the Constitutional rights of all. Of course, the Public Defender's Office could not provide high-quality, cost-effective legal services to the indigent of Orange County without OCEA-represented classifications of Investigators, Paralegals, and Clerical support staff who make it possible to process nearly 65,000 cases annually.
OCEA is involved in many aspects of the Department. In addition to traditional representation, OCEA participates in the Joint Labor Management Committee or LMC. Through the LMC, OCEA-represented employees and management are able to work collaboratively on resolving workplace concerns and striving to continue to provide a great working environment. One example of such an effort is the Healthy Recipes program that has generated dozens of home-cooked healthy recipes that are shared with employees. OCEA will continue to build a strong relationship with the Department in improving the working lives of Public Defender employees.
Know Your Rights
All public employees have certain broad rights, some of which differ from those of private-sector employees.
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What is an MOU? It's a "memorandum of understanding"—another name for a collective bargaining agreement!