The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has announced its appointment of Brendon Woods as Alameda County Public Defender.
Effective Dec. 17, Woods replaces Diane Bellas, who was public defender for 12 years before retiring in March.
Woods has worked with the public defender’s office since 1996 and served in several posts in the office before becoming Senior Assistant Public Defender under Bellas.
“I am excited to lead the amazing group of lawyers, investigators and support staff that work in our office (and) I am deeply, deeply committed to ensuring that the indigent clients of Alameda County receive excellent representation,” Woods told the Board of Supervisors.
The public defender is the primary defense attorney for all low income accused persons in Alameda County. The public defender is required by law to provide competent and effective legal defense in the state court system for all persons within the county who require legal counsel at public expense.
The office of the Alameda County Public Defender is the second oldest in the country. In 1927 Earl Warren, then the Alameda County District Attorney, successfully campaigned to have the public defender included in the new County Charter. Warren went on to be the attorney general of California, governor of California, and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
The county public defender’s office operates five branch offices, employing 104 attorneys, 20 field investigators, and support staff. Public defender attorneys and staff deal with an incoming caseload exceeding 4,500 new legal matters every month.