The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for a Death Penalty Investigator to join its Capital Litigation Unit (CLU).

About SCHR

SCHR is working for equality, dignity, and justice for people impacted by the criminal legal system in the Deep South. SCHR fights for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice.

Over our forty-six-year history, SCHR has litigated precedent-setting cases in the South, in hostile climates, against all odds. SCHR has forced county and state governments to make significant improvements in prisons and jails to reduce overcrowding, provide adequate medical and mental health care, and abate violence and abuse. We have argued and won five death penalty cases at the US Supreme Court, four of which challenged profound race discrimination in capital trials. Our combined litigation and policy advocacy helped bring about the creation of a statewide public defender system in Georgia. For more information about SCHR, see our website at www.schr.org.

About the Position

SCHR’s Capital Litigation Unit provides direct representation to people facing the death penalty in Georgia and Alabama. This work includes advocating for people who were wrongfully convicted, people whose trials were undermined by race discrimination, people who have suffered extensive trauma and abuse, and people who received inadequate legal representation at trial. The job of the Death Penalty Investigator is to work with clients, attorneys, and other team members to discover relevant evidence and support the representation of clients.

We seek someone with a deep and authentic commitment to the inherent dignity of our clients and our mission to create a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice. This is an opportunity to create systemic change working in an organization where we all give 100% in an environment that tends to be high stakes, high energy, and does not conform to traditional 9 to 5 schedules. Achieving our bold mission often requires weeknight or weekend hours and a can-do attitude. At the same time, we strive to support our staff in maintaining their resiliency through our benefits package and positive, passionate work environment.

Key Responsibilities

Responsibilities of a Death Penalty Investigator include:

  • Building relationships with SCHR clients facing the death penalty and their families;
  • Investigating the facts and circumstances of the offenses for which clients are charged;
  • Uncovering, understanding, and documenting the social history of clients, including, but not limited to, instances of mental illness, intellectual disability, poverty, substance abuse, and childhood abuse and neglect;
  • Requesting and obtaining records and other documentary evidence;
  • Interviewing witnesses;
  • Organizing information for use by attorneys, mental health professionals, and other experts;
  • Coordinating the appearances of witnesses at hearings and trials;
  • Assisting attorneys at all stages of litigation; and
  • Any other work necessary for SCHR to provide effective representation to its clients.

Qualifications & Experience

SCHR seeks applicants who are highly motivated, well organized, and committed to SCHR’s work. Strong writing and communication skills are important. The candidate should be both a strong team player and able to take initiative and work independently. The ideal candidate is someone who has prior employment or volunteer experience working with underserved communities.

Applicants must be:

  • willing to travel weekly by car in Georgia, Alabama, and elsewhere, and spend substantial time interviewing people in their homes and in correctional facilities;
  • willing to work outside of 9-to-5 hours;
  • willing to spend multiple days away from home to handle case-related needs;
  • trustworthy with confidential information;
  • open to constructive feedback on their work from colleagues;
  • communicative with their teams, clients, and witnesses;
  • dedicated to building strong relationships with their clients as people;
  • committed to serving financially disadvantaged communities and/or other communities targeted by the criminal legal system; and
  • dedicated to uprooting anti-Black racism and working to advance SCHR’s commitment to antiracism.

A valid driver’s license is required. Fluency in Spanish or a background in journalism or mental health will be helpful, but it is not required. People with direct personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system are encouraged to apply.

Requirements

Commitment and Compensation

SCHR seeks a commitment of at least three years. The start date is negotiable, but January 2024 would be preferred. Salary is commensurate with experience, within SCHR’s modest, public interest salary range of $50,000 – $70,000. SCHR offers an excellent, 100% premium-paid benefits package, including medical, dental, vision care, and life insurance. Additional benefits include modest stipends for transportation and wellness, access to a flexible spending account, and childcare assistance (if eligible).

This position is in person at our Atlanta office. Our office maintains a hybrid schedule, with staff required to be in-person three days of the week (absent travel, illness, or other excused absences) and flexibility to work remotely the remaining two days. Accordingly, all applicants should be willing to live in the Atlanta area.

TO APPLY

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Those who are interested are encouraged to apply immediately. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE. Please e-mail careers@schr.org with the following:

  • Statement in the subject line of the e-mail that you are applying for the Death Penalty Investigator position;
  • Letter of interest;
  • Resume; and
  • Writing sample (an article for a blog, an academic paper, a policy brief, or anything else that shows your style and voice)

The Southern Center for Human Rights is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer that welcomes qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, nationalities, and military status, as well as those who have personal experience with the criminal legal system.