Position Information

Position Information Message
Mitigation Specialist/Investigator

Established in 2010, the Office of Capital & Forensic Writs (OCFW) is a small, close-knit public defender office in Austin, Texas. We proudly provide zealous, client-centered postconviction representation to indigent persons in Texas, consistent with the Guidelines and Standards for Texas Capital Counsel and the Supplementary Guidelines and Standards for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Texas Death Penalty Cases adopted by the State Bar of Texas. We raise claims relating to the constitutionality of convictions and sentences through two separate programs:

  1. Investigating and litigating constitutional claims relating to death penalty convictions and sentences;
  2. Representing incarcerated persons where questionable forensic science tainted their convictions.

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.

OCFW is hiring a mitigation specialist to investigate on our clients’ behalf. Salary will depend on experience. 

All mitigation specialists work as part of a team of attorneys and investigators, 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.  

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. 

Job Description:

  • Identifying and locating witnesses, and travelling across the state and country to interview them in their homes. Witnesses include complaining witnesses, law enforcement and eyewitnesses, the client’s friends, family, teachers, neighbors, coworkers, etc. Depending on the needs of a case, mitigation specialists may perform both mitigation and culpability investigation.
  • Conducting a culturally competent social history investigation by establishing on-going relationships with the client and family, and interviewing witnesses who are knowledgeable about the client at every phase of his or her life, and maintaining a close relationship based on trust and rapport with multiple clients. Our clients are usually housed at the Polunsky Unit prison in Livingston, Texas. Each member of the team visits clients frequently.
  • Gathering and analyzing relevant records and anecdotes to develop information concerning the circumstances of the alleged crime and the client’s life history. From the information we gather, mitigation specialists draft memos, construct timelines, and assist in drafting the social history narrative of the client’s life and family history.
  • Working independently by managing the competing priorities and deadlines of multiple cases. Mitigation specialists create and implement their own investigation plans after consulting with the case team members.
  • Working as a member and facilitating the success of interdisciplinary teams of multiple attorneys, other mitigation specialists, supervisors, and experts. As a full member of each client’s case team, mitigation specialists collaborate in developing theories of the case and case strategies and providing litigation support to the team.                                                                                                             
Position: Mitigation Specialist/Investigator
Organization: Office of Capital and Forensic Writs
Location: Austin,  TX 
United States
Salary: Up to $80,000
Posting Start Date:
Date Posted: 8/30/2022
Requirements

Minimum Qualifications:

  • College degree;
  • An organized and precise work practice with attention to detail and accuracy;
  • A demonstrated commitment to the representation of death-sentenced persons, and persons from marginalized communities;
  • Excellent written and oral communication;
  • Highly developed interpersonal and collaboration skills; Experience working with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and an awareness of the issues that must be overcome to successfully work with people who have life experiences you do not share.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bilingual in Spanish and English;
  • Capital defense investigation experience;
  • Experience working in a legal office that serves indigent communities;
  • Degree or post-graduate study in a relevant field (e.g., cultural anthropology, psychology, sociology, African American or Latin American studies, public health, ethnography, law, social work, English, history, communications, or another field involving qualitative research);
  • Familiarity or experience with identifying mental health symptoms, trauma, intellectual disabilities, forensic sciences, and/or issues of race, ethnicity and poverty within the criminal justice system or elsewhere.                                                                          

Employment Conditions:

  • Ability and willingness to travel throughout Texas, out of state, and on occasion, out of the country for client-representation purposes. The person hired for this position should expect to regularly travel 50% of the time weekly on case work.
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment and software.
  • A valid driver’s license, and the willingness to operate a motor vehicle for client-representation purposes.

Additional Details:

Posting Date:

August 29, 2022

Closing Date:

Until Filled 

Job Listing:

215-22-04

Location:

Austin, Texas

State Classification:

Investigator IV-VI

FLSA Status:

Exempt

Salary Range

$60,000 to $80,000 (depending on experience and qualifications)

Type of Job:

Full time, some weekends are required.

Travel Required:

Yes (50%)

   

How to Apply:

To apply for this position, send: (1) a letter of interest; (2) a resume; (3) a list of references; (4) the mandated State of Texas Application for Employment to: hiring@ocfw.texas.gov.

State applications are available at:

https://twc.texas.gov/files/jobseekers/texas-application-employment-twc.pdf.

Veterans, Reservist or Guardsmen with an MOS or additional duties that fall in the fields of 27A, 27B, 250X, LGL10, 04, 4402, 51JX, or other related fields pertaining to the minimum experience requirements may meet the minimum qualifications. Additional Military Crosswalk information can be accessed at:     http://www.hr.sao.state.tx.us/Compensation/MilitaryCrosswalk/MOSC_Legal.pdf.

The Office of Capital & Forensic Writs is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, any request for reasonable accommodations needed during the application process should be communicated by the applicant to Joy Right, the Office of Capital & Forensic Writs Senior Accountant, at joy.right@ocfw.texas.gov.

 
Status: This listing expires on: 11/28/2022
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Organization Information
Name:
Office of Capital and Forensic Writs
Address:


Austin,  TX 78701
United States
Email:
hiring@ocfw.texas.gov
Phone:
Fax:
Contact:
Ben Wolff