Capital Area Private Defender Service

We are currently seeking:


 Writ Attorney
Holistic Defense Supervisor
Legal director of the Forensic Project


Post Conviction Staff Attorney - Forensics Project

The Forensic Project in Austin, Texas, is a non-profit post-conviction law office that reviews felony convictions that rely in part on DNA evidence tested by the Austin Police Department (APD) DNA Lab. The APD DNA lab was shut down in July of 2016 after the Texas Forensic Science Commission issued a report raising serious quality concerns with the lab's work. The Forensic Project was funded by Inter-Local Agreement between the City of Austin and Travis County in March of 2017. The Forensic Project is charged with: 1) reviewing cases to assess the materiality of DNA evidence to convictions; 2) submitting cases with material DNA evidence to an expert for scientific review of DNA test results; and 3) providing post-conviction representation to clients who have been impacted by issues at the APD DNA lab and/or by problematic DNA mixture calculations. It is expected that the project will be funded for a total of 3 to 5 years.


The Forensic Project is seeking candidates for two Post-Conviction Staff Attorney positions. A Post-Conviction Staff Attorney reviews case records and works with investigators to assess the materiality of DNA evidence to felony convictions. Post-Conviction Staff Attorneys also provide post-conviction representation to clients who were affected by issues in the APD DNA lab or whose APD DNA mixture statistical calculations have changed significantly since the time of conviction. The ideal candidate would be a highly organized and self-directed individual with criminal defense/innocence project/post-conviction experience and a demonstrated commitment to excellent, client-centered representation.


The Forensic Project is willing to accept applications for full-time and part-time Post-Conviction Staff Attorney positions. The ideal candidate would possess many of the following qualifications:


  • Licensed attorney in the State of Texas by start date (attorneys needing to waive in or take the Texas bar may be considered depending on the needs of the project);
  • Minimum of two years of criminal defense/post-conviction/innocence work experience or its equivalent (clinical and clerkship experience may also be considered);
  • Demonstrated commitment to client-centered indigent defense;
  • Experience evaluating felony cases for the weight of the evidence;
  • Experience in criminal defense/post-conviction/innocence investigations, including knowledge of national standards for defense investigation;
  • Familiarity with national and state indigent defense best practice standards;
  • Demonstrated high quality research and writing skills;
  • Demonstrated diligence and initiative to set and accomplish goals and meet deadlines;
  • Ability to function well in a team-based setting;
  • Experience working with diverse populations;
  • Experience managing and prioritizing a high volume of cases;
  • Courtroom experience and the ability to negotiate and litigate motions with minimal supervision;
  • Knowledge of Texas habeas law and practice (or a commitment to learn);
  • Knowledge of DNA and other forensic disciplines, exhibited through either trial
  • experience, appellate/writ experience, or courses taken; and
  • Fluency in Spanish preferred.


Responsibilities:

  • Review cases to identify possible wrongful convictions and be prepared to conference them in a team setting;
  • Identify and prioritize cases for collaborative expert review of DNA evidence;
  • Travel to meet with clients and conduct post-conviction investigations across Texas;
  • Investigate, craft and litigate claims based on issues with DNA evidence as well as all other claims cognizable on habeas corpus review for those clients with cognizable DNA issues in their cases;
  • Update clients on the progress of their materiality review and/or litigation;
  • Maintain highest standards of advocacy, professional responsibility, client-centered representation and best practices in all areas of post-conviction review and representation;
  • Keep abreast of legal opinions, legislative updates, forensic science developments and evolving best practices and legal ethics in post-conviction innocence and wrongful conviction review, investigation and litigation; and
  • Document and track time spent on casework and other duties.


For full-time candidates, the salary range is $60,000 to $85,000, commensurate with experience. Generous benefits package includes health, dental, retirement and other benefits. Salary for part-time candidates is dependent on experience and availability. Continued funding is anticipated for the term of the project but must be renewed annually.


To apply, please email Stacie Lieberman, the Director of The Forensic Project, at jobs@capds.org. Please include in one document a cover letter, resume, writing sample and professional references. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. We will be accepting applications until the open positions are filled, however priority will be given to applicants who submit applications before March 5, 2019. Past applicants are encouraged to re-apply if interested.


CAPDS is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. All candidates are encouraged to apply.