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San Diego County appoints Paul A. Rodriguez as new public defender

Newly-appointed San Diego Public Defender Paul A. Rodriguez shown in this undated portrait.
San Diego County
Newly-appointed San Diego Public Defender Paul A. Rodriguez shown in this undated portrait.

San Diego County Wednesday appointed Paul A. Rodriguez as its new public defender following an extensive recruitment process.

Rodriguez's job will consist of ensuring that people charged with a crime in state court who are financially unable to retain private counsel receive a rigorous defense.

According to a county statement, Rodriguez' selection aligns with the county's "pursuit of a leader who champions restorative justice, diversity, inclusion and belonging."


"Paul has a leadership style that is transparent, collaborative and team oriented, with a high level of integrity and a mission-driven focus," said Holly Porter, the county's deputy chief administrative officer for public safety. "San Diego County defenders and professional staff are committed and passionate about their work, and I am excited to see all the office will accomplish under Paul's leadership."

Prior to Wednesday's appointment, Rodriguez served as the El Cajon branch supervisor, where he provided support to more than 50 attorneys and staff. He joined the Public Defender Office as an intern before graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law.

"I have dedicated my legal career to indigent criminal defense," he said. "Our department will continue to provide zealous legal representation to those with fewer opportunities, those who are consistently marginalized, to protect them from being presumed guilty.

"It is my privilege to continue this difficult work with our dedicated staff of professionals who work tirelessly every day," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was born in Santiago, Chile and he says his family moved extensively to pursue better economic opportunities in Argentina, Puerto Rico, Florida, Luxembourg and Belgium, the county statement read.


The San Diego County Public Defender Office was established in 1988 and consists of 547 employees working in four separate divisions: the Primary Public Defender, the Alternate Public Defender, the Multiple Conflicts Office and the Office of Assigned Counsel.