Experienced Capital Post-Conviction Attorney
EXPERIENCED POST-CONVICTION ATTORNEY JOB OPPORTUNITY
Established in 2010, the Office of Capital & Forensic Writs (OCFW) is a small, close-knit public defender office in Austin, Texas. We proudly serve as the office of conviction integrity for the State of Texas, working to ensure that capital and non-capital convictions are constitutional, reliable, and untainted by questionable forensic science.
Our practice is two-fold. First, we represent death-sentenced persons in constitutional challenges to their conviction and sentence. Capital post-conviction is our largest practice. We represent 70% of persons in Texas raising initial post-conviction challenges to their convictions and death sentences, and a smaller number of clients in other procedural postures, such as incompetency to be executed, post-conviction DNA testing, and successive post-conviction proceedings. The work OCFW does in Texas is making an impact. Since 2020,
- The Court of Criminal Appeals overturned one client’s capital murder conviction and death sentence, agreeing with OCFW that false forensic evidence was used to convict and sentence him to death;
- Another client’s death sentence was held unconstitutional due to incompetence to be executed;
- Trial courts have found clients’ conviction or sentence to be unconstitutional in four cases.
In 2020, we began representing persons convicted of non-capital offenses in post-conviction challenges when questionable forensic science, negligence, or misconduct contributed to their conviction. These cases are referred to us by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. We currently represent eight clients whose convictions rest on tainted, outmoded, or unreliable forensic science, such as hair microscopy, blood spatter, bitemark, and fingerprint evidence.
OCFW is hiring an experienced attorney to represent our clients in these areas. Salary will depend on experience.
All attorneys work as part of a team of advocates, all of whom offer valuable perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise. Although this work can be difficult, we consider ourselves fortunate to work alongside compassionate, dedicated, and collaborative colleagues to provide the best possible representation to our clients. Because we know our clients benefit when their advocates have a wide and diverse range of professional and life experiences, our office is strongly invested in having persons of color and individuals from non-traditional backgrounds represented.
OCFW provides client-centered and excellent post-conviction representation, and is committed to following applicable professional guidelines, including: the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (2003), the State Bar of Texas Guidelines and Standards for Texas Capital Counsel (2006), and the Supplementary Guidelines and Standards for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Texas Death Penalty Cases (2015).
The OCFW values dedication, compassion, collaboration and dignity, and believes these values to be the cornerstone of all that we do. Our office is dedicated to client interests, professional development, and high-quality representation. We endeavor to work through an anti-oppressive lens, display compassion in our work to our clients, the community at large, each other and ourselves. We foster a collaborative and supportive environment and empower each other in our work protecting the rights of our clients. We strive to be free from bias or favoritism and to treat all with respect.
Commitment to Diversity:
OCFW is devoted to maintaining a staff with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Every OCFW staff member shares a profound commitment to public service and to defending people from underserved communities. We are specifically seeking candidates with Spanish language skills and/or those from communities disproportionately impacted by systemic injustice, whose lived experiences contribute to client representation.
We are committed to cultivating an anti-oppressive workplace that embraces staff with a diversity of backgrounds, identities, and experiences.
Our practice involves claim investigation and drafting, litigation of live evidentiary hearings, and appellate advocacy. Thus, ideal candidates would be adept at both written and oral advocacy, as well as committed to client-centered, excellent representation. Duties include: building rapport with and counseling clients; reviewing the trial and appellate record for constitutional error; interviewing witnesses; investigating and developing claims; drafting applications for writs of habeas corpus and other substantial pleadings; litigating evidentiary hearings.