Homicide/Special Defense Unit (SDU) Mitigation Supervisor

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Job location
1441 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Defender Association of Philadelphia
Street address: 
1441 Sansom Street
Job type: 
Position Description: 

Job Code:
FLSA Status: Exempt
EEO-1 Code: 21-1029, Professionals, Social Workers (All Other)
Salary Grade:
Division/Department: Homicide/Special Defense Unit (SDU)
Reports to: Chief Homicide/SDU
Direct Reports: Mitigation Specialist, Special Defense Social Worker, Interns

Job Summary
The Homicide/SDU Mitigation Supervisor is a professional administrative position working with the Mitigation Specialist and social work staff. The supervisor’s responsibility is to participate in the selection, training and supervision of Mitigation Specialists, social workers and interns assigned to the Homicide/Special Defense Unit. The Mitigation Supervisor must adhere to Defender policies and procedures to ensure quality representation and services for our clients. The Mitigation Supervisor will foster a work environment that is conducive to the team work approach and value of the Defender Association’s practice of continued education through training and development that will ensure the advancement of the unique training, skills and mitigation practices employed by the Defender.

Major Areas of Responsibility
• Manage the day-to-day activities of the Homicide/SDU mitigation and social work staff; assign responsibilities to staff, and measure progress to goals;
• Supervise mitigation specialists and social workers in court on a frequent basis
• Assist in the development of staff training and professional development initiatives to advance the specialized training and development for Capital Mitigation processes and procedures
• Coordinate case conferences with mitigation specialists, attorneys and investigators;
• Review files prior to closing in order to evaluate record keeping and documentation of work product
• Maintain statistics on cases referred, accepted and rejected;
• Meet regularly with the Chief of the SDU/Homicide Unit to review cases and explore policy issues;
• Prepare performance evaluations on mitigation specialists, and social work staff and student interns

• Employ transitional leadership skills, providing one-to-one support and supervision for growth and development of mitigation specialists, social workers and interns.
• Facilitate and drive team-centered approach of attorney/social worker/mitigation specialist collaboration for Homicide and Special Defense matters
• Represent the Association at agency meetings and conferences as needed

• Maintain a caseload of mitigation cases, working closely with attorneys and clients to ensure quality representation and services to Capital clients
• Conduct interviews and develop trusting relationships with clients at the various state and county prisons and mental health facilities to determine competency, alcohol/drug dependence, legal sanity, and preparation of reliable social histories and themes for mitigation based on the client’s psycho-social development;
• Conduct exhaustive investigation into client’s backgrounds, including locating and interviewing witnesses such as family members, friends and services providers (medical, psychological, educational, spiritual, etc.) to gather records, reports and other documentary materials
• Prepare comprehensive and persuasive psycho-social summaries and sentencing reports
• Work with attorneys to determine, evaluate and select expert witnesses and consultants
• Work with expert witnesses including providing experts with documentation required and/or accompanying experts to forensic evaluations
• Prepare written reports/memoranda on clients to trial attorneys
• Testify in court, as needed.
• Assist attorneys in the development and integration of Mitigation as well as the preparation and implementation of penalty phase hearings.

Training and Development
• Emphasize training and development for all social workers and mitigation specialists.
• Foster a work environment that emphasizes the importance of continuous training and development, by working with all staff attorneys, social workers, and mitigation specialists to introduce new programs and initiatives that can/will improve the quality of services we provide our clients
• Recognize the importance and uniqueness of the role of the mitigation specialist in capital defense matters, and work to educate and advance the capital mitigation field, by educating, developing training programs and working one-on-one with social workers and students interested mitigation services.

Key Relationships:
Internal: Homicide/SDU administrative, attorneys, social worker, mitigation staff members
External: Clients; Client Families; Expert Witnesses, Prison Personnel; Community Stakeholders


Education: Master’s Degree, preferred. Bachelor’s Degree with combined relevant work experience can be substituted for Master’s Degree.

• Five years Capital Mitigation experience
• Three years supervisory experience, working with employees and/or interns to foster and develop social work/mitigation skills.
• Ability to work well with others and handle a variety of tasks simultaneously
• Demonstrated leadership skills and the ability to develop and foster a teamwork environment
• Excellent written and interpersonal communications skills
• Excellent organizational and time management skills

Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. This description reflects management’s assignment of essential functions. It does not proscribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned. This job description is subject to change at any time.

To apply: 

Send cover letter and resume to: Sherri Darden, HR Manager, Defender Association of Philadelphia, 1441 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, Pa, 19102; or email to [email protected]

The Defender Association provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, The Defender Association complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training
Submission deadline: 
Monday, June 27, 2016