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Assistant Public Defender 1

Applications are accepted via the Ohio Hiring Management System at careers.ohio.gov. You may proceed directly to the job posting by pasting this URL in your web browser: 
Job Description - Assistant Public Defender 1 (210002JJ) (taleo.net)

The Office of the Ohio Public Defender seeks an Assistant Public Defender 1 (APD 1) for the Death Penalty Department.  The essential duties of an APD 1 in the Death Penalty Department are:


  • Team Defense:  Capital litigation typically involves a team of attorneys, mitigation specialists, fact investigators, and support staff. An APD1 on a capital defense team works collaboratively with all of the team members by including all team members in all case communications (emails, meetings, etc.); sharing ideas and encouraging other team members to share their ideas; and maintaining accurate and current case file information available to all team members. Timely, accurate, and clear communication among all team members is essential.  Team members are expected to communicate effectively with each other and to seek clarification when necessary.
  • Direct Appeal:  An APD1 works on a team with other Death Penalty Department attorneys to prosecute the direct appeal of trial cases wherein the trial court imposed a death sentence.  An APD 1 reviews the record of capital cases on direct appeal to identify, research, brief and argue to the Ohio Supreme Court constitutional, evidentiary, and other trial court errors.

An APD1 working on direct appeal exhibits strong legal research and writing skills, analytical thinking, and the ability to write persuasively.  An APD 1 will present oral argument in support of the brief and/or assist a more experienced team member in making the argument.  With appropriate supervision and within a defense team, an APD 1 acts as lead counsel on direct appeal cases once properly certified.

  • Postconviction:  Working within a defense team, an APD 1 assigned Postconviction cases investigates the entire trial record, and more importantly, all matters outside the trial court record to identify, research, plead, and argue constitutional violations that render the death-sentenced defendant’s conviction or sentence void or voidable under R.C. 2953.21 et seq.  An APD 1 reviews discovery materials, analyzes fact patterns, directs the investigation of factual issues, and understands the legal implications of facts developed in postconviction investigations.  An APD 1, as part of the postconviction defense team, critically evaluates the performance of trial counsel to determine whether the client’s Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel has been violated.  An APD 1 also examines the evidentiary foundation for admission of any scientific, expert, or opinion testimony that was, or should have been, offered in evidence at trial.  An APD 1 investigates all possible claims for postconviction relief.

An APD 1 works collaboratively with the entire postconviction defense team to prepare, timely file, and prosecute a petition for postconviction relief under R.C. 2953.21 et seq.  The postconviction petition investigation examines both the guilt-determination phase and the mitigation phase of the trial court proceedings.  This may include: interviewing witnesses (including trial jurors); visiting the crime scene; reviewing, developing and presenting forensic, scientific, medical, social, psychological, and other evidence; appearance at trial court evidentiary hearings; or oral argument.  Within the defense team, and with appropriate supervision, an APD1 examines witnesses in court or makes oral argument.

  • Federal Habeas Corpus:  Working within a defense team, an APD 1 assists in the identification, preservation, presentation and prosecution of a writ of habeas corpus in the federal courts to protect a death-sentenced client’s right not to be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.  Within the team setting, an APD 1 applies all of the skills required of an APD 1 in direct appeal and postconviction representation.  An APD 1 assigned to federal habeas cases works under the direct supervision of a more experienced Death Penalty Department attorney and/or outside counsel.
  • Clemency:  As part of a defense team, an APD 1 develops, documents, and presents mitigating information to the Adult Parole Authority (Parole Board) in support of a death-sentenced client’s pre-execution application for clemency.  This representation requires compassion, creativity and a willingness to exhaustively search for all mitigating information on behalf of the client, including challenging the conviction.  It also requires the attorneys to have extensive interaction with the client, the client’s family, friends and support mechanism, and others in the community with an interest in capital cases.  An APD 1 assigned to a clemency petition works closely with the entire defense team, which ordinarily will include a more experienced capital litigator, a fact investigator, and a mitigation specialist.
  • Common Skills of all Death Penalty Department Employees:  An APD 1 must be able to work collaboratively with others on the defense team, be able to accept and give constructive feedback and criticism, and possess strong analytical and reasoning skills.  An APD 1 must be an effective and persuasive writer.  An APD 1 must exhibit a strong commitment to indigent defense, the capacity to work with clients facing the ultimate penalty, and the compassion to professionally interact with all segments of the criminal justice system, including defendants, victims or victims’ family members, investigators, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, jurors, support staff members, medical professionals, and mental health professionals.

**Please submit a cover letter explaining your interest in capital defense work and a writing sample with your application.  Applications without a cover letter and writing sample will not be reviewed.**

Position: Assistant Public Defender 1
Organization: Office of Ohio Public Defender
Location: Columbus,  OH 
United States
Salary: $53,850
Posting Start Date: 4/20/2021
Date Posted: 4/21/2021
Requirements Licensed to practice law in State of Ohio pursuant to section 4705.01 of Revised Code.

Note: Temporary Certification for Practice in Legal Services, Public Defender, and Law School Programs may be accepted in lieu of License to practice law in State of Ohio pursuant to Gov. Bar R. IX of the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Status: This listing expires on: 7/20/2021
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Organization Information
Office of Ohio Public Defender
250 E. Broad St.

Columbus,  OH 43215
United States
(614) 466-3373
Cherish Berry