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Contra Costa County Looking For A Few Good Attorneys

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From the Contra Costa County Administrator’s Office:

Contra Costa County is looking for a number of attorney candidates to act as contract Mental Health Hearing Officers. Hearing Officers are appointed by the Superior Court and responsible for limited hearing schedules serving in conjunction with other part-time Hearing Officers.

A Mental Health Hearing Officer is responsible for conducting mental health facility-based hearings to determine:

(1)   probable cause for further involuntary detention of mentally disordered patients in psychiatric facilities (Probable Cause/Certification Review Hearings, Welfare & Institutions Code Section 5250 et seq), and/or

(2)   an individual’s capacity to refuse psychotropic medication (Capacity Hearings, Welfare & Institutions Code Section 5332 et seq).

A Mental Health Hearing Officer may also be responsible for conducting “Roger S” hearings, an administrative procedure for admission of minors who are not dependents or wards of the juvenile court to acute care public psychiatric facilities under contract with the County of Contra Costa.

Candidates must exercise a broad knowledge of legal requirements regarding the mentally disordered and applicable provisions of the California Welfare & Institutions Code related to mental health.

Mental Health Hearing Officers must refrain from the practice of law while employed with the court as a hearing officer in accordance with Canon 6G of the Judicial Code of Ethics.


The duties listed below are examples of the work typically performed by Mental Health Hearing Officers. A hearing officer may not be assigned all duties listed and may be assigned duties that are not listed below.

·       Conducts probable cause hearings in psychiatric facilities to determine if patients meet legal criteria for involuntary detainment.

·       Reviews clinical and legal documents, interprets complex legal and psychiatric regulations that apply to mental health, analyzes evidence, and determines continued involuntary placement of mentally disordered patients.

·       Conducts medication capacity hearings as required by statute.

·       Applies provisions of the California Welfare & Institutions Code related to mental health.

·       Ensures that all notices, decisions and findings of fact that pertain to matters heard by the Mental Health Hearing Officer are appropriately prepared and filed or delivered to the Superior Court.

·       Delivers all recordings of hearing proceedings to the Superior Court.

·       Maintains hearing logs of all proceedings to which the Mental Health Hearing Officer is assigned.

·       Conducts training about the hearing process to facility staff, in conjunction with the Patient Advocacy Program and Office of the Public Defender.



Provisions of the California Probate Code, Family Code, Welfare & Institutions Code; relevant statutes and rules of the Judicial Council of California and Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa; statutes relevant to mental health certification reviews; legal and medical terminology and pleadings relevant to mental health certification reviews; principles of working with persons with mental disorders.


Understand, interpret and apply appropriate provisions of statutes, rules and policies applicable to mental health certification and medication capacity reviews; conduct fair and impartial hearings in a manner that will obtain all pertinent evidence and secure confidence and respect; objectively review evidence and information on cases and prepare sound recommendations pertinent to mental health certification and medication capacity reviews; present clear and logical statements of fact, law and arguments in oral and written form; establish and maintain effective working relationship with the public, Superior Court judicial officers, members of the bar, mental health facilities, various governmental agencies, and court staff; maintain confidential information when required by legal or ethical standards.


Membership in good standing in the State Bar of California; AND five (5) years of full-time, post-bar experience in providing legal services.

Candidates shall be selected in accordance with statutory authority and regulations in California Welfare & Institutions Code Sections 5256.1 and 5334(c).


Hearing Officers must hold a valid California Driver’s License and vehicle insurance if driving a motor vehicle.

Submission to background investigation is required upon conditional offer of appointment.


Strength, dexterity, coordination, and vision to use a keyboard and video display terminal on a daily basis. Hearing to communicate with the public and court staff. Dexterity and coordination to handle files and single pieces of paper; occasional lifting of objects weighing up to 25 pounds such as files, stacks of papers, reference and other materials. Moving from place to place within an office, and to and from mental health and/or detention facilities in various locations; some reaching for items above and below desk level. Sitting for extended periods of time.


Hearings are held primarily in the County Hospital and County Detention Facility in Martinez and may also be held at mental health treatment and detention facilities throughout the county. Mental Health

Hearing Officers must be able to travel to multiple facilities, sometimes within the same day, by arranging their own transportation and/or use of their personal vehicles.

The work environment is generally clean inside buildings with limited exposure to dust, fumes, odors, and noise. Incumbents will be working under sometimes difficult and stressful conditions; with frequent deadlines and expectations for high quality work; and with periodic contact with angry and confrontational individuals.

The ability to work independently as well as closely with others is required. Video display terminal is used on a daily basis.


The Superior Court is responsible for the appointment, compensation, and oversight of the hearing officers.

Contracted Mental Health Hearing Officers shall be compensated for a scheduled “Hearing Block” at the rate of $125.00 for each assignment. Expenses for mileage and parking in conjunction with hearings and attendance at one administrative meeting per quarter will be reimbursed upon submission of receipts and mileage claim form.

A “Hearing Block” is a block of time required to complete scheduled hearings at one (1) or more facilities. “Hearing Blocks” are typically an average of two (2) hour blocks in either the morning or afternoon during the work week, but can run shorter or possibly longer, depending upon a particular case load for the day. “Hearing Block” activity may also include hearing officer related business such as presentations or training when requested by the Supervising Judge.


Submit resumes describing relevant qualifications by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 16, 2019 to:

  • Contra Costa County Administrator’s Office
  • Attn: Julie Enea
  • 651 Pine St. 10th Fl.
  • Martinez, CA 94553

Or email to julie.enea@cao.cccounty.us

Finalists should plan to be available for interviews in Martinez CA during the week of August 26-30, 2019.


  1. LOL

    Wouldn’t “good” and “attorney” be an oxymoron?

    I’m not sure how this would all work, but mental health care for individuals is a long time problem and I would hope that this is just a first step in helping the the mentally ill recover or receive appropriate care and not be left to roam the streets.

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