Assistant Federal Defender - Capital Habeas Unit

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Job location
801 I Street, 3rd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Office of the Federal Defender - Eastern District of California
Job type: 
Legal - Defender
Position Description: 

The Office of the Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California is now accepting applications for the position of one Assistant Federal Defender for its Capital Habeas Unit (CHU) in its Sacramento Office. Our dedicated CHU team of attorneys, investigators, paralegals, and legal assistants advocate for indigent prisoners sentenced to death. Our staff has extensive and diverse experience in life, law of capital habeas litigation. Skilled collaboration, strategic litigation, compassionate representation, and unique approaches to issues affecting our clients are among the values reflected in our CHU.

Duties: Our attorneys represent death-sentenced prisoners in their federal habeas corpus proceedings. CHU attorneys carry a full caseload, representing clients in all stages of their federal court litigation, including clemency. Regular responsibilities include: working with clients; digesting large case files and investigative materials; developing litigation strategies; drafting pleadings; conducting evidentiary hearings; presenting oral arguments; working with experts and other witnesses; and supervising teams of investigators, paralegals, and legal assistants. This position may require work on holidays, evenings, and weekends. Frequent travel within the United States also may be required.


Requirements: All applicants must be members of the California Bar or be willing to sit for the next California Bar exam, if they are a member of another state Bar. Membership to the California Bar must occur within two years of employment. Desired candidate will have a minimum of five years’ experience in habeas corpus litigation. Applicants must have an established capacity or clearly demonstrated aptitude for excellence in capital defense, strong written and oral advocacy skills, work well in teams, and be effective organizers. The Federal Defender strives for diversity among its staff and encourages applications from women and minority candidates.

To apply: 

To apply, email cover letter, résumé, three references, writing sample and a completed Application for Judicial Branch Employment form (AO78),, to:
[email protected]
Position announced on December 7, 2017. Position closes on January 8, 2018. Interviews are anticipated in January 2018.

Salary and Benefits: This is a full-time permanent position. Federal government benefits apply, including retirement, health, life and long-term insurances, thrift savings program, and flexible spending accounts. Direct deposit of pay required. Employees of the Federal Defender are considered “at-will” employees and are not covered by the Civil Service Reform Act. Must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident in the process of applying for citizenship. Selected candidate will be subject to background check as condition of employment. The Office of the Federal Defender is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities encouraged to apply. This agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis
Submission deadline: 
Monday, January 8, 2018
Expiration date: 
Monday, January 8, 2018