The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Monday named Molly O'Neal as the county's new Public Defender.
O'Neal, 50, had served as acting Public Defender since last July.
O'Neal has worked in the Public Defender's office since 1990, starting as trial attorney in misdemeanor, juvenile and felony cases. She was a member of the office's Special Trial Unit from 2001-2006, where she represented clients charged with capital and non-capital homicide or other complex criminal charges, including white collar crime.
From 2006 to 2010, O'Neal was supervising attorney for the felony trial team, where she directly supervised 20 attorneys handling some of the most serious cases in the office, supporting them with trial strategy and legal research.
O'Neal became supervising attorney of the juvenile division in 2010. She was appointed Assistant Public Defender in November, 2011. She has been actively involved in many committees and collaborations within the county to lead reforms in juvenile justice and conduct strategic planning for county realignment/re-entry efforts.
O'Neal earned her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics from the University of California-Santa Cruz. She is married to Judge Jacqueline Arroyo and they have two children, ages 15 and 7 years.
O'Neal's salary is $241,455.
The public defender's office employs 240 people, including 120 attorneys, clerical staff, investigators and paralegals, and has an annual operating budget of $48 million dollars.