About the Public Defender's Office

Keri Klein

Keri Klein is the Public Defender for Nevada County. She has served in that position since February of 2016. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Public Defender for Nevada County. She joined the office in 2007, after spending several years as a deputy public defender in Yolo County. Before entering the field of indigent defense, Keri had a private criminal defense practice in San Francisco.

She graduated with her law degree and litigation certificate from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1995. She received her bachelor of arts degree from UC Irvine's School of Social Ecology in Law and Society in 1992.

Outside of her employment, Keri gives continuing education seminars on plea negotiations and ethics related topics and has been a faculty member for the California Public Defenders' Association Trial Skills Institute since 2005.

In addition, Keri is an active member of several legal organizations including the California Public Defenders' Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, The National Association of Public Defenders, Pacific Juvenile Defenders, and National Juvenile Defenders. She is a graduate of the Nevada County Community Leadership Institute and has received her credential from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

Keri is working towards modernizing the Public Defender's Office through the use of technology, performance guidelines and the implementation of best practices. She is proud of her staff and how they have embraced the idea of recidivism reduction through a client-centered approach of representation.

This approach combines aggressive advocacy in court with the acknowledgement that many poverty stricken people who are arrested and charged with crimes have other challenges with which they struggle, from housing, to addiction, to mental illness, to lack of employment, to under employment and lack of sufficient education. Keri and her staff support the idea that if they can start to address the underlying issues which drive people into the criminal justice system, they can obtain better case and life outcomes for their clients and their community.

I grew to like to defend men and women charged with crime... I was dealing with life, with its hopes and fears, its aspirations and despairs. With me it was going to the foundation of motive and conduct and adjustments for human beings, instead of blindly talking of hatred and vengeance, and that subtle, indefinable quality that men call 'justice' and of which nothing really is known.
~ Clarence Darrow