County Administrator's Office
For Immediate Release

Brian Morris selected as Sonoma County Public Defender

Santa Rosa, CA  –  October 25, 2021  –  Brian Morris, the Assistant Public Defender for Marin County, has been selected to lead the Sonoma County Public Defender’s Office beginning in December. Morris has served as Marin County Assistant Public Defender since 2015 where he earned a reputation for innovation and collaboration that resulted in positive outcomes for public defender clients. He returns to Sonoma County after 20 years where he previously served as Deputy Public Defender. His contract will be considered at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Nov. 2.

"Brian’s extensive litigation experience and passion for person-centered representation will continue a tradition of positive outcomes for Sonoma County residents who are unable to hire an attorney for financial reasons,” said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “He has a collaborative leadership style that will only enhance relationships among the county’s justice partners, and we’re happy to have him.”

The Sonoma County Public Defender has the mandated responsibility of defending any person who is charged in Superior Court and who is not financially able to hire an attorney. The Public Defender also represents individuals in probate and welfare proceedings. Types of cases handled by a County Public Defender include criminal cases upon request or by appointment of the court, contempt cases, appeals cases involving mental health guardianships and conservatorships, and juvenile cases.

“I’m looking forward to partnering with Sonoma County’s vibrant and diverse community and other county departments to help improve our clients’ lives,” said Morris. “It is an honor to join a staff that is well-respected for providing excellent service while carrying complex, high-volume caseloads.”

Morris served as a Marin County Deputy Public Defender for approximately 15 years prior to his appointment as Marin County Assistant Public Defender. He has also served as Deputy Public Defender for both Mendocino County and Sonoma County. He currently serves on the California Public Defender's Legislative Committee, the Marin County Juvenile Justice Realignment Committee, the Marin County Criminal Justice Behavioral Health Team, the Marin County Equity CORE Team, and is a member of the Marin County Bar Association. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Vermont, and Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Morris is expected to begin his role on Dec. 1, 2021 with a base salary of $231,084. 

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Contact Information

Dan Virkstis

County Administrator's Office

County of Sonoma
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Address

County Administration Building

575 Administration Drive

Suite 104A

Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.4649057, -122.7277385