About Us

Who We Are

The Office of the Public Defender in Stanislaus County was founded in the early 1970's as a contract firm for the purpose of indigent defense.

The Office is staffed by 28 attorneys and a support staff of 13 and an investigative staff of 3.

The current Public Defender for Stanislaus County is Mr. Sonny Sandhu. Mr. Sandhu received his bachelor of arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a double major in Psychology and Asian American Studies. Mr. Sandhu graduated from The Ohio State Moritz College of Law and received his Juris Doctorate in 2002.

Sonny Sandhu began working in this office in September of 2003 as a Deputy Public Defender. In 2013 Mr. Sandhu became the Chief Deputy Public Defender. During that time Mr. Sandhu handled and took to jury trial several high profile cases.

Mr. Sandhu precedes Stanislaus County Public Defenders Dallas Cole and Tim Bazar.

What We Do

The Public Defender's Office is an integral part of the criminal justice system providing representation to indigents accused of crimes in a vigorous and cost effective manner. The Public Defender's Office also represents parents in matters in which the state seeks to make their children dependants of the court, as well as those people accused of criminal contempt of court and people who are involuntarily committed during certain mental health proceedings. The Public Defender's duties are mandated by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of California, and by statutes enacted by the California Legislature. The services provided by the office help assure the orderly administration of justice within our community and protect the liberty of those accused of crime as well as those who might someday find themselves accused.

What We Offer

It is the mission of the Stanislaus County Public Defender's Office to provide quality legal representation to indigents who are accused of criminal offenses, involved in juvenile court proceedings or who are involved in statutorily defined civil proceedings. The goal is to provide a fully competent, effective, and ethical defense to each client whose cause has been entrusted to the office for representation; to provide all mandated legal services in a cost effective and efficient manner; and to conduct that representation in a manner that, in so far as possible, the county criminal justice system operates effectively, efficiently, and achieves justice. The federal and state constitutions and statutes, along with county decisions and rules, require the County to provide these legal services to individuals who cannot afford to hire lawyers.