Friday, November 16, 2018
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The mission of the Kern County District Attorney's Office is to fairly and vigorously represent the People of the State of California in the administration of justice in Kern County.
In furtherance of this mission, this Office is committed to investigate and prosecute criminal cases with professionalism, skill and courage, and to administer the laws of California and the United States equally and impartially as to all persons.
Attorneys and third year law students who wish to apply for a position as a Deputy District Attorney should mail a copy of his or her résumé to:
Kern County District Attorney
1215 Truxtun Avenue
Bakersfield, California 93301
ATTN: Mark E. Pafford
A limited number of summer internships are available for first and second year law students. Interested individuals should mail a copy of his or her résumé to the address above.
Résumés may also be e-mailed to
The main office of the Kern County District Attorney's Office is located in Bakersfield, the county seat. Regional (branch) offices are maintained in other Kern County communities where the Superior Court hears criminal cases. These communities are Delano, Lake Isabella, Lamont, Mojave, Ridgecrest, Shafter and Taft. Contact Information for Branch Offices
Branch office attorneys prosecute all misdemeanor cases originating in their respective offices from filing to conclusion. With the exception of vertical prosecution program cases, they also prosecute all felony cases originating in their respective offices through preliminary hearing, and through trial and sentencing for some offenses.
Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program
Since 1999 Kern County has been a participant in the Central Valley Rural Crime Prevention Program. This program is a multi-jurisdictional collaboration of the Agricultural Commissioners, Sheriff's Departments and District Attorney Offices in the eight San Joaquin Valley counties, which are Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties.
The Rural Crime Prevention Program is a state-funded program that is administered by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. It specifically targets offenders who commit oil and agricultural crimes.
Cases within the Rural Crime program are filed in the judicial district where the crime was committed; for that reason supervision of the program is part of Branch Operations.
Requests for criminal prosecutions are submitted to the Kern County District Attorney's Office by law enforcement agencies. The investigation reports in each felony case, and in most misdemeanor cases, submitted for filing must be read by an experienced attorney, and evaluated for sufficiency of the admissible evidence to prove the suspect's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have filed a report with law enforcement and the agency has completed their investigation and does NOT submit a request to our office for filing, you may submit a walk-in complaint for review. Instructions and walk-in complaint form (PDF)
In the branch offices the assigned attorney is responsible for reviewing all cases submitted for complaint. In the Bakersfield office all complaint requests, except those cases that are part of one of the vertical prosecution programs, are reviewed by attorneys assigned to the Complaint Desk and Calendars section.
Cases meeting the criteria for prosecution are issued, and cases needing further investigation or lacking sufficient evidence are returned to the requesting agency. Felony complaints and misdemeanor complaints are filed in the Superior Court of Kern County.
An attorney from the Complaint Desk and Calendars section appears every court business day at the Criminal Calendar, where defendants are arraigned on new cases, hearings on various motions are conducted, and most defendants who have entered a plea of guilty at the preliminary hearing stage are sentenced. An attorney from this section also appears every day at the Revocation calendar, where defendants on felony probation appear for hearing and sentencing on violations of probation.
Every community in Kern County is affected by crime committed by members of street gangs. There are over 30 such gangs in the county. The Gangs section is responsible for prosecuting all defendants who commit crimes in furtherance of criminal gangs. In many cases these defendants are charged with first degree murder.
The General Felony Section prosecutes all felony offenses that are not handled by one of the vertical prosecution sections, which is the great majority of crimes that are committed each year. Typical cases include vehicular homicides, residential burglaries, grand thefts, and assaults involving great bodily injury or dangerous weapons.
Deputy District Attorneys whose offices are located in the Juvenile Justice Center are assigned to prosecute all juvenile court cases from the issuing stage to conclusion.
The Misdemeanor Section handles all misdemeanor pre-trials and jury trials in the Kern County Superior Court, Metropolitan Division, which is located in Bakersfield. Misdemeanor cases filed in courts other than Bakersfield are handled by the attorneys assigned to the branch office serving that court.
Although most misdemeanor offenses are not as serious as are felony offenses, the Misdemeanor Section is responsible for the prosecution of all driving under the influence cases filed in Bakersfield. Misdemeanor DUI cases are filed in the Metropolitan Division of the Superior Court.
The DA's Office has a special team of prosecutors dedicated to the prosecution of the worst impaired drivers with more than three priors and those that kill or injure. These prosecutors are specially trained in the areas of impairment, collision reconstruction and vehicle safety. They provide training to all Law Enforcement Agencies in the County. Additionally, they are available on-call to assist in the investigation of vehicular homicides. The DA's office receives funding through a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support this program.
A preliminary hearing is a contested hearing before a judge at which the prosecution must prove facts to establish probable cause to believe that the defendant has committed the felony offense(s) charged in the complaint. If the judge finds that probable cause has been proved, the defendant(s) in the case will be set for trial on the crime(s) charged. If probable cause is not established, the case will be dismissed, and the defendant released from custody on the dismissed charges.
District Attorneys present the evidence in all preliminary hearings in Metropolitan Division court cases that are not assigned to one of the other sections, such as Gangs or Special Prosecutions. Preliminary hearings in branch courts are handled by the attorneys assigned to those offices.
Four major state prison facilities are located within Kern County: California Correctional Institute, North Kern State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, and Wasco State prison. Further information about these and other state prison facilities can be found on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Web page.
Crimes committed in state prisons located within Kern County are prosecuted by attorneys assigned to the Prison Crime section. The costs for these prosecutions are fully reimbursed by the State of California.
As the name suggests, the Special Prosecution section is responsible for those cases and/or defendants that are particularly violent, or that require more time to prepare than the typical felony offense. The crimes include sexual assaults, child abuse, and most murder cases, including some gang cases. The Statutory Rape Vertical Prosecution program attorney is included in this section. The Special Prosecution section also handles the filing and prosecution of felony spousal abuse cases in all branches of the Kern County Superior Court.
The Child Abduction Unit of the Kern County District Attorney's Office assists in the enforcement of court orders awarding child custody, including custody orders issued by courts in other California counties, states and foreign countries.
In order to determine whether the Child Abduction Unit can be of assistance to you, a preliminary interview is necessary. You may call 868-2340 and ask to speak with an investigator about your case, or to make an appointment for an in-person interview. You may also come to our office located at:
1215 Truxtun Avenue, 4th floor
Please bring a copy of your current custody orders when you come to the office. If the Child Abduction Unit can be of assistance to you, you will then be asked to complete a detailed questionnaire.
Victims of domestic violence often leave the home and take the children with them. California Penal Code §278.7 requires that a victim of domestic violence who leaves with the children notify the District Attorney's office, within 10 days of leaving home, of the whereabouts of the children, including name, current address, telephone number and reasons for taking the child. This law also requires that an action for court ordered custody must be filed within 30 days of leaving the alleged abusive parent. Failure to do so may result in the victim parent being charged with child concealment.
You may obtain a form for reporting this information from our office at the address listed below or online (PDF)
District Attorney's Office
Child Abduction Unit
A copy of the report form may also be obtained from:
Alliance Against Family Violence
1921 19th Street
Bakersfield, California, 93303
Anti Drug Program (CLAT)
Major Narcotics Vendors
The Kern County District Attorney's Office, Bakersfield City Schools and Kern High School District, have partnered to develop the Truancy Reduction Program in order to reduce truancy. When students skip school on a regular basis, not only do they miss out on the education that is crucial to their futures, but also they often start committing serious crimes.
The Department of Justice has reported that 78% of prison inmates have truancy as their first arrest. A shocking 57% of violent crimes are committed by juveniles when they should have been in school. It should be no surprise that 67% of truants test positive for drugs when they are detained. The Department of Justice also reports that 82% of prisoners are high school dropouts.
Education is the foundation for a prosperous future. The likelihood of slipping into poverty is about three times greater for high school dropouts than for high school graduates. Dropouts are more likely to need and receive public assistance than graduates, and make up nearly one half of the Heads of Households on welfare. For additional information http://www.boostup.org/flash/.
The education and well being of our children is our most important responsibility. Parents must make their children's education a priority and keep them in school. The whole community wins when our children succeed.
Who Is A Truant?
California law requires every person 6 to 18 years old to attend school every day and be on time. California Education Code section 48260 defines a truant as a student who has three unexcused absences during the school year, three tardies over 30 minutes, three class cuts, or any combination of the above. When a student has five unexcused absences, five tardies over 30 minutes, five class cuts, or any combination of the above, the student is considered a habitual truant under California Education Code section 48262.
How Does The Truancy Program Work?
Once a student is declared a habitual truant, the student and parent will be referred to the Attendance Review Board for a determination of the factors contributing to the student's lack of attendance. The board may extend community services and resources to the families in order to foster regular attendance. If attendance does not improve, the student and possibly the parents may be referred to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution.
Truancy cases are heard before a juvenile court judge, in the same way a juvenile criminal matter is heard. The consequences for the minor may include suspension or delay of driving privileges, a fine and between 20 to 40 hours of community service.
The consequences for the parent may include a fine of $100-$500 or possible parenting classes. If the parent is convicted of a misdemeanor, the fine could range between $50-$2,500, depending on the specific charge. The parent could also receive time in jail, depending on the extent to which the parent contributed to the student's failure to attend school. Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 11253.5, the County Cal-Works Office may reduce a family welfare grant if the child is not regularly attending school.
Walk-in Complaint Form (PDF)
Submit this form to our office for review after you have filed your report with law enforcement if the agency has completed their investigation and has NOT submitted a request to our office for filing.
Good Cause Form (PDF)
Use this form to file for court-ordered custody within 30 days of leaving the alleged abusive parent.
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