Martin Schwarz named new Orange County public defender – OCRegister

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously hired Martin Schwarz to lead the Public Defender’s Office, which represents those who can’t afford attorneys in criminal and other matters.
Schwarz had been doing the job on an interim basis since July, when former Public Defender Sharon Petrosino retired. Schwarz will be paid $396,476 annually in salary and benefits to manage an office with 211 attorneys and 196 support staff.
Schwarz’s appointment comes after a yearlong national search for Petrosino’s replacement.
Supervisor Don Wagner said Schwarz’s performance as the interim public defender proved he could handle the post on a permanent basis. Schwarz stood out among the eight finalists for the job.
“He really came in knowledgeable and came in like a strong manager of the department,” Wagner said. “It was clear he was the number one choice.”
Schwarz received a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara in 1992 and a law degree in 1996 from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He passed the bar the same year.
Schwarz worked for the Public Defender’s Office in Contra Costa County in 1997 and, that same year, joined the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, working his way through a variety of positions.
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