Sentencing Advocate I/II

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United States
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Position Description: 

The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (VIDC) is accepting applications for a Sentencing Advocate I or II (DOE) for the Alexandria Public Defender Office. The Sentencing Advocate assists attorneys in providing zealous, high quality representation to indigent persons accused of criminal offenses, to include violent crime. The Sentencing Advocate reports to the Public Defender of the Alexandria Office and is employed at will. The successful candidate will be subject to a fingerprint based criminal background check. The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


The Sentencing Advocate will provide support services to include interviews of clients, their families, and of relevant witnesses to prepare social histories, and will review and synthesize client mental health, educational, and medical histories in aid of either the defense at trial or in mitigation. The applicant will be responsible for assisting in the development of defense themes of mitigation and alternative sentencing plans, as well as assisting in identifying appropriate witnesses to testify in court. The successful applicant will be responsible for identifying and working with outside agencies to increase dispositional resources for public defender clients. The successful candidate for this position will work directly with representatives of other criminal justice agencies in order to divert public defender clients from the criminal justice system whenever possible. This work entails representing the office on various committees and task forces that provide services to public defender clients. The Sentencing Advocate must be able to develop and maintain effective time-management and organizational skills in a manner that allows adequate time to track and abide by deadlines, prepare cases, complete administrative paperwork and respect co-workers’ time constraints. This position also requires that the Sentencing Advocate behave in a professional manner so as to uphold the integrity and enhance the professional reputation of the sentencing advocate and the office, while also enhancing office efficiency and effectiveness through teamwork. The sentencing advocate must be aware of, and adhere to, the code of professional conduct governing all members of the defense team representing criminal defendants.


A Bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology or a related degree in mental health or counseling along with work experience in a mental health discipline dealing with families and support groups is a requirement. Two years of experience conducting interviews to prepare family and social history reports is a minimum requirement. Experience examining medical records and identifying mental health factors that will assist in mitigation is also required. Basic knowledge of the criminal trial and sentencing process is required. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to work independently and as part of a team, along with the ability to establish rapport and maintain professional relationships with clients’ family members and other critical individuals and agencies that provide services to clients. The ability to communicate effectively in writing and orally is required. A valid driver’s license and the ability to travel is needed. Previous experience working in a criminal justice environment is required. Indigent defense experience is preferred. The ability to effectively work in a stressful and high volume environment is required. Regular, reliable and consistent attendance is also required.


Master’s degree in the fields described above is a preferred qualification. High proficiency or fluency in Spanish is desirable.

To apply: 

Only applications submitted online will be accepted. Please visit the link below to submit an online application through the state Recruitment Management System.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
Submission deadline: 
Wednesday, November 23, 2016