Claudia Y. Bautista
Claudia Y. Bautista is the head Public Defender of Ventura County and is responsible for overseeing and managing all internal operations of the Public Defender’s Office.
Ms. Bautista joined the office on Christmas Eve 2001, serving as a Deputy Public Defender from 2001 to 2014, where she established herself as a dedicated advocate for the indigent of Ventura County. She litigated many cases including misdemeanors, serious felonies, three-strike cases, life-in-prison matters, and homicides. From 2014-2016, Ms. Bautista was promoted to Supervisor, overseeing the newly established realignment unit, supervision of calendar courts and specialty courts, while maintaining a limited caseload. In 2016, Ms. Bautista was promoted to Chief Deputy Public Defender managing the felony and probate units. In 2017, Ms. Bautista was promoted to Assistant Public Defender.
The Mexican born and Southern California native received her Bachelor of Arts from UCLA and her Juris Doctorate from University of Wisconsin Law. She is the recipient of the Richard Erwin Trial Attorney of the Year.
Ms. Bautista is devoted to leading both her colleagues and clients to success. She strives for a harmonious workplace, promoting inclusion, trust and collaboration, and focusing on shared strengths and priorities.
Michael Rodriguez is a Chief Deputy Public Defender. Mr. Rodriguez has been an attorney with the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office since August 2004. He has tried numerous serious felony and misdemeanor cases, and worked in juvenile delinquency, drug court and mental health.
Prior to joining the Public Defender’s office, Mr. Rodriguez was the directing attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance’s Oxnard Basic Office where he managed a busy legal aid office while representing indigent clients in civil rights, landlord/tenant, public benefits and employment cases. He was a legislative staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Chicago, Illinois. During this tenure at MALDEF he collaborated with Congressman Luis Gutierrez and then State Senator Barack Obama.
Mr. Rodriguez earned his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University School of Law in December 1990, and his Bachelor of Arts in political science from California State University, Northridge in May 1988. He is a product of Ventura County public schools. Michael Rodriguez is married and the proud father of three children.
Andre Nintcheff is a Chief Deputy of the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office. He currently supervises the Felony Trial Team, Veteran’s Treatment Court, and the Sexually Violent Predator unit.
Mr. Nintcheff grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where miserable sports teams dominated his youth and prepared him for a life of adversity—a solid background to now tirelessly advocate for the voiceless and underserved. He studied Philosophy at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. After graduating college, he moved to Boston and worked briefly as a licensed stock trader before enrolling at Suffolk Law, where he graduated Cum Laude. During law school he volunteered at a legal clinic that provided legal services to homeless Vets and developed a passion for working with the homeless. Upon moving to California, Mr. Nintcheff continued fostering his passion for service by volunteering with the homeless through the Public Law Center in Orange County. There, he worked alongside employees of the Public Defender’s office and witnessed firsthand the impact their work had on underserved populations.
Larry Carlton joined the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office in 1995. Over the next 24 years, Mr. Carlton worked on behalf of public defender clients conducting intensive investigations in a wide variety of cases. Ultimately, Mr. Carlton was promoted to Chief Investigator in 2017. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from California Lutheran University where he received Departmental Honors. Mr. Carlton is a Licensed Private Investigator and a Certified Criminal Defense Investigator.
Aurora Lazaro is the Public Defender’s Administrative Services Director. She is a native of Ventura County, and joined the Public Defender’s office in 1994. She has her certification in Business Management/Accounting and is responsible for managing all administrative and fiscal functions of the office. She oversees the Clerical Unit and supervises the Administrative, Law Clerks and Paralegal Units. Ms. Lazaro brings years of experience and a vast knowledge of all aspects of the Public Defender’s Office.