Writ Attorney (Post Conviction DNA Writs)

Job Type

Full Time

Salary

Maximum: $115,000

Published

08/02/2018

Start Date

10/01/2018

Application Deadline

08/17/2018

Address

507 W. 11th Street, Austin TX
Austin
TX
78701
United States

Description

The Capital Area Private Defender Service (CAPDS) Forensic Project seeks a Writ Attorney. The Forensic Project is a non-profit post-conviction law office charged primarily with reviewing convictions stemming from 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. Following the award of a grant in September of 2016 from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission to review Travis County felony convictions involving DNA mixtures, 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 reviewing approximately 1800 cases that may have involved DNA evidence and is expected to be funded for 3 to 5 years. 


The Writ Attorney would 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 Writ Attorney must be an experienced post-conviction attorney with a demonstrated commitment to excellent, client-centered representation.


Requirements:

  • Licensed attorney in the State of Texas, or ability to waive into the Texas Bar;
  • Five years of criminal defense-related work; at least two years of post-conviction litigation experience;
  • Substantial post-conviction and/or appellate litigation experience;
  • Demonstrated commitment to client-centered indigent defense;
  • Experience litigating forensic issues (Daubert hearings, trial cross-examination/theories, post-conviction);
  • Experience in post-conviction/innocence investigation, 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.


Preferred:

  • Five years of post-conviction litigation experience;
  • Advanced knowledge of DNA and other forensic disciplines, exhibited through either trial experience, appellate/writ experience, or courses taken;
  • Knowledge of Texas case law and appellate/writ practice;
  • Sufficient post-conviction litigation and mentorship experience to serve as a resource;
  • Experience managing and prioritizing a high volume of cases;
  • Proficiency in Spanish.


Responsibilities:

  • Litigates 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;
  • Effectively manages all stages of writ litigation as lead counsel, to include: research, investigation, drafting, exhibit preparation, negotiation and advocacy at hearings;
  • Maintains highest standards of advocacy, professional responsibility, client-centered representation and best practices in all areas of post-conviction representation;
  • Keeps 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;
  • May assist with post-conviction litigation and investigation training for Forensic Project attorneys, investigators, pro bono partners and legal interns/fellows on skills necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the project;
  • Maintains a partial case load of materiality reviews as the needs of the project require.


Salary up to $115,000, commensurate with experience. The availability of this position and salary range are contingent on budget approval. If approved, the start date will be October 1, 2018. Continued funding is anticipated (for the term of the project) but must be renewed annually.


To apply, please email Ira Davis at jobs@capds.org. Please include in one document a cover letter, resume, professional references and three relevant writing samples. Please detail your post-conviction litigation experience in your cover letter. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. We will be accepting applications until the position is filled but priority will be given to those whose applications are received by Thursday, August 16, 2018.


Benefits

Health, dental, disability, life, and retirement.

Level of Language Proficiency

Spanish desired, but not required.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

J.D.

How To Apply

jobs@capds.org
http://www.capds.org/join-our-team.html

To apply, please email Ira Davis at jobs@capds.org. Please include in one document a cover letter, resume, professional references and three relevant writing samples. Please detail your post-conviction litigation experience in your cover letter. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. We will be accepting applications until the position is filled but priority will be given to those whose applications are received by Thursday, August 16, 2018.


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