Forensic Review Attorney

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Job location
507 W. 11th Street
Austin, TX 78701
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Capital Area Private Defender Service
Street address: 
507 W. 11th Street
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

*** Forensic Review Project Staff Attorney***
The Capital Area Private Defender Service (CAPDS) is a 501(c)(3) charged with improving indigent defense in Travis County through mentoring, managing, and acting as a resource to assigned counsel. CAPDS is in the process of contracting with Travis County for a short-term (three to five year) contract for the review of convictions stemming from the Austin Police Department (APD) DNA Lab. The 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. It is estimated that there are up to 4,000 convictions that need to be reviewed, and a portion of those will need post-conviction litigation representation by the Forensic Review Project.
It is expected that the Forensic Review Project will conduct reviews of the cases to determine whether there are wrongful convictions stemming from the problems at the lab, negotiate agreed writs, and file contested writs. We are recruiting two staff attorneys committed to providing the highest quality of representation to those whose conviction stems from the lab.
Final offers will not be made until funding and contract negotiations are finalized, and the contract should be finalized close to March 1, 2017. There is a need for the work to begin as soon as possible so interviews of qualified applicants may take place before the contract is finalized.
Job Duties:
• Individually review cases to identify possible wrongful convictions and be prepared to conference them in a team setting;
• Writ writing;
• Travel for investigation or to meet with clients in prisons across Texas;
• Assist in fact investigations;
• Possess high-level understanding of DNA issues;
• Meet with prosecutors and other stakeholders;
• Track time spent on casework and other duties;
• Assist in the preparation of quarterly reports to Travis County and The City of Austin;
• Meet contractual milestones for cases reviewed.


• Licensed attorney in the State of Texas, or the ability to waive into the Texas Bar;
• Minimum three years criminal defense or innocence work experience;
• Demonstrated commitment to indigent defense;
• Experience evaluating felony cases for weight of the evidence, either as a criminal defense attorney, post-conviction attorney, or innocence project work;
• Demonstrated high-quality research and writing skills;
• Ability to function well in a team-based setting;
• Experience in criminal defense investigation, including knowledge of national standards for defense investigation and post-conviction investigations preferred;
• Experience litigating forensic issues (Daubert Hearings, trial cross-examinations/theories, post-conviction) preferred;
• Knowledge of advanced DNA exhibited through either trial experience, appellate/writ experience, or courses taken preferred;
• Spanish-speaking preferred;
• Post-conviction experience preferred;
• Must be familiar with national and state indigent defense best practice standards.

To apply: 

Please send cover letter, resume, and writing sample (ten page limit) to: [email protected] as one document with ‘DNA Attorney’ in the subject line. Only electronic communications will be accepted. Please demonstrate in your cover letter that you meet the minimum qualifications. Only applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be considered. Applications considered until positions filled.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: