Investigator II [Sentencing Mitigation Investigator]

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Job location
Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office
2300 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 201B
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Virginia Indigent Defense Commission's Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office
Job type: 
Position Description: 

The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission is accepting applications for the position of Investigator II (hereinafter “mitigation investigator”) in the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office. The office represents poor persons charged with capital murder and facing the death penalty throughout Northern Virginia in the state courts. The mitigation investigator will investigate all aspects of a client’s history, background, and development and will assist in formulating and presenting the value of the client’s life and the client’s humanity to the prosecutor, judge, members of the jury, and other relevant decision makers. The mitigation investigator reports to the Capital Defender and is employed at will. The successful candidate will be subject to a fingerprint-based criminal background check.

The office delivers capital defense services through a staff of dedicated attorneys, mitigation specialists and investigators, and office manager, as well as contracting with outside fact investigators, mental health professionals, and other experts. The office emphasizes team-based defense and a holistic approach to questions of culpability and mitigation. All members of the office are committed to the following values:
• Excellence in the provision of capital defender services for indigent defendants, accepting that the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Counsel in Death Penalty Cases set a high, yet still minimum, standard in the field;
• Client-centered and relationship-based work that respects the humanity and dignity of all involved in the criminal justice system; and
• Innovation and creativity in the provision of capital defense services.

The mitigation investigator’s primary function is assisting in the representation of indigent defendants facing capital charges and a possible sentence of death at the trial level through the development of sentencing evidence relevant to lessening the possible punishment. The responsibilities of the mitigation investigator include developing and maintaining positive and productive working relationships with clients and significant other case participants; investigating the facts and circumstances of the client’s background; developing personal, family, and social histories; locating and interviewing potential mitigation witnesses for court proceedings; traveling to correctional institutions within and without the state to visit with incarcerated clients and witnesses; requesting, reviewing, analyzing, and summarizing records and information; organizing and administering the case file; providing support for attorneys preparing for, and in, litigation and court proceedings, including but not limited to serving subpoenas, witness relations, and the development of demonstrative exhibits; assisting in the identification, selection, preparation, and presentation of expert witnesses; researching and writing on a variety of related subjects, including mental health and intellectual disability; investigating the facts and circumstances of the alleged offense and the circumstances of any prior charged or uncharged misconduct that could be used as aggravating circumstances; and providing additional services and duties as the needs of the office dictate.


Minimum Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s degree from a four-year, brick-and-mortar, accredited college or university;
• Post-graduate qualification from brick-and-mortar accredited institution in relevant subject area, such as social work, psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, counseling, education, theology, or divinity;
• Clear and effective written and oral expression;
• Demonstrated commitment to excellence and success in the provision of indigent capital defense services;
• Organized and precise work practices with attention to detail;
• Highly developed interpersonal skills, with strengths in team work, client relations, and relationship building; and
• Valid driver’s license, with the ability and willingness to travel at length within and without the state and internationally where necessary.

Preferred Qualifications:
• Post-graduate degree from brick-and-mortar accredited institution in relevant subject area, such as social work, psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, counseling, education, theology, or divinity;
• Experience in sentencing mitigation investigation;
• Professional experience with key areas related to the position, such as mental health needs, medical, mental, and educational disabilities, prisoners and institutional settings from an advocacy perspective; data collection, management and analysis; and the impact of culture, race and poverty;
• Technology literacy, including but not limited to, the use of Microsoft Office applications, as well as spreadsheet, DropBox, database programs, case management software, and new media research; and
• Spanish language fluency.

To apply: 

Applicants must apply online via the Virginia Jobs website ( and submit (1) a fully completed state application, (2) cover letter with an attached professional writing sample, and (3) resume (“curriculum vitae”). All qualifications should be addressed in cover letter. The position vacates in mid-July 2016, and the anticipated starting date is shortly thereafter with the position remaining open until filled. Any inquiries should be directed to Edward J. Ungvarsky, Capital Defender, at [email protected] or (703) 875-0103.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: