Regional Public Defender Office for Capital Cases
Local Government Corporation
POSITION IS LOCATED IN LUBBOCK, TEXAS. START DATE APPROXIMATELY SEPTEMBER 4, 2024
Job Title: Associate Public Defender
Number of Positions: 1
Location(s): Lubbock, Texas
Reports To: Chief Public Defender
Mission, Vision and Values of the R.P.D.O.
Mission: Advocating the value of our clients’ lives
Vision: Ending the death penalty one life at a time
Teamwork — All voices are equal as we work together with a common goal
Humility – We serve the good of the client, not our egos
Creativity – We search for individualized ways to connect with and represent each client
Tenacity – We are determined and persistent
Compassion – We honor the humanity of clients, victims, families, and one another
SUMMARY: Appointed by the Chief Public Defender, the Associate Public Defender will be tasked with developing all the necessary skills that embody and are required for a capital trial lawyer. Prior to entering a courtroom, the Associate Public Defender will be required to spend a substantial amount of time learning and developing mitigation in a capital case. The Associate Defender will work approximately 2 years doing the work of a Mitigation Specialist. The successful Associate Public Defender will master mitigation development and develop their legal skills as a trial lawyer. The Associate Public Defender will be responsible providing legal representation for defendants in criminal proceedings and ensuring their constitutional rights are upheld. Serves as lead counsel in some non-death cases and performs functions as directed in selected capital cases. Oversees and participates in preparation, presentation and disposition of cases. Will work diligently developing legal skills to facilitate the eventual first chair representation of capital defendants.
1. Obtains and evaluates family histories, jail records, work records, medical records, and educational records.
2. Prepares correspondence, social histories, and reports and submits social histories to psychologists, and team members.
3. Conducts witness interviews and field investigations regarding competency, alcohol/drug dependence, legal sanity and prepares reliable social histories and themes regarding mitigation based on the client’s psycho-social development, future dangerousness, and other capital sentencing factors.
4. Prepares written reports/memoranda for all clients and submits to attorneys and team members.
5. Provides legal advice to clients. Interviews clients and witnesses to obtain information necessary for preparing a defense.
6. Participates in plea negotiation with prosecutors regarding the pending case. Advises clients on plea offers, options, and potential for success at trial or other dispositions of cases.
7. Seeks from the Court any necessary funding for outside experts in the preparation of a defense.
8. Performs legal research. Searches resources and studies legal records and documents to obtain information applicable to case issues under consideration.
9. Obtains documents by subpoena and other discovery methods.
10. Drafts briefs, motions, orders, subpoenas and other legal documents, as well as correspondence and reports.
11. Identifies any affirmative or de facto defenses and tactical procedural choices for clients.
12. Prepares cases for court and conducts hearings and trials related to pending cases.
13. Provides narrative, descriptive entries in client files of opinions, impressions, and facts collected.
14. Preserves any potential error for appellate points.
15. Advises clients of the constitutional rights waived by pleading guilty and the potential direct and collateral consequences of a guilty plea. Advises non-citizen clients of the specific immigration consequences of criminal convictions.
16. Selects juries, examines and cross-examines witnesses, drafts and argues jury instructions and argues cases to the jury.
17. Staffs other cases assigned to the office with other attorneys and staff.
18. Responds to telephone calls from non-clients, family members of clients.
QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: J.D./LL.B. from an accredited law school. Desire to represent indigent defendants is a necessity. Significant capital mitigation experience is a plus. Additional requirements:
1) be licensed to practice law in Texas or the ability to obtain a Texas license within 6 months of starting date;
2) exhibit commitment to providing quality representation to indigent defendants and developing the skills and experience to represent capital defendants as a first chair attorney;
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES: Knowledge and understanding of the relevant state law, both procedural and substantive, governing criminal cases. Ability to handle stressful cases; ability to adjust to rapidly fluctuating situations; ability to operate a personal computer and basic office equipment; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers.
Ability to keep accurate notes and records; ability to prepare and present clear, concise and comprehensive reports; ability to read and understand legal codes, cases and technical material in such disciplines as medicine, physical and social sciences; ability to obtain information through interview and interrogation; ability to assess the credibility of witnesses; ability to gather and analyze facts and evidence and draw valid conclusions; ability to adjust to workload changes and work under stress to meet deadlines; ability to organize and prioritize workload to manage cases efficiently; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with team members, representatives of other agencies, clients, family member of clients, the public and co-workers.
PHYSICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS: Physical requirements include lifting/carrying 25 lbs. occasionally; visual acuity, speech and hearing; hand and eye coordination and manual dexterity necessary to operate computer keyboard and basic office equipment. Subject to sitting, standing, walking, reaching and handling to perform the essential functions.