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APPELLATE RESEARCH-AND-WRITING SPECIALIST, TERMED POSITION
The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Districts of Colorado and Wyoming, seeks a Research-and-Writing Specialist. The office operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C.§ 3006A, to provide zealous and professional legal representation to indigent persons charged with criminal offenses in the United States District Courts in Colorado and Wyoming, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Job Description: The Research-and-Writing Specialist is an attorney position that provides advanced legal research and writing support to Assistant Federal Public Defenders. This position will be dedicated to support Assistant Federal Public Defenders assigned to the Cheyenne, Wyoming Branch. The Specialist’s duties include staying abreast of the latest developments in the law; conducting legal research; drafting pretrial motions and memoranda, and assisting trial attorneys during motions hearings and trials. Research and Writing Specialists are support positions and generally do not involve client responsibilities. Research and Writing Specialists are not generally permitted to appear in court and may not engage in the private practice of law.
Requirements and Qualifications: Applicants must have 1) a working knowledge of federal criminal law and procedure; 2) strong research and writing skills; and 3) strong automation skills.
Applicants must be 1) a graduate of an accredited law school; 2) licensed by the highest court of a state, federal territory, or the District of Columbia; 3) a member in good standing in all courts and jurisdictions where admitted to practice; and 4) a United States citizen, or a person authorized to work in the United States and receive compensation from this agency.
The successful applicant will have excellent legal research and writing skills, a demonstrated commitment to criminal defense, a team-oriented professional demeanor, and a reputation for personal integrity.
Appointment is subject to a satisfactory background investigation including an FBI name and fingerprint check and an IRS tax check.
Salary and Benefits: This is an “Excepted Appointment” full-time position with federal benefits and salary commensurate with experience and qualifications. Benefits include health and life insurance, retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by direct deposit.
This is a termed position that will expire one year and one day after commencement of employment. The position is open immediately. There are no express or implied promises of future employment with this office.
How to Apply: Qualified individuals may apply by submitting a letter of interest, resume, and a sample motion or brief of not more than 2500 words. E-mailed and faxed applications will not be considered. Interviews will be conducted in person. Cost of travel must be incurred by the applicant. This position is subject to the availability of funds. Applications must be received by COB Friday, January 8, 2016.
APPLICATIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO:
Kim W. Bechard Administrative Officer Office of the Federal Public Defender 633 17 th Street, Ste #1000 Denver CO 80202
The Federal Public Defender is an equal opportunity employer.
Selection for this position is contingent on proof of U.S. citizenship or, for noncitizens, proof of authorization to work in the United States plus proof of entitlement to receive compensation. Even if a noncitizen is authorized to work in the United States under the immigration laws, this agency may not use appropriated funds to pay compensation to a noncitizen employee in the continental United States unless he or she falls within one of the following categories of exceptions:
- Persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence who are seeking citizenship or are willing to seek citizenship when eligible.
- Persons admitted as refugees under 8 U.S.C. 1157 or granted asylum under 8 U.S.C. 1158 who have filed a declaration of intention to become lawful permanent residents and then citizens when eligible.
- Persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States (for example, natives of American Samoa and Swains Island).
- Persons who were officers or employees of the U.S. Government on December 16, 2009. For a list of documents that may be used to provide proof of citizenship or authorization to work in the United States, please refer to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf .
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Research & Writing Specialist Capital Habeas Unit
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The Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio is accepting applications for the position of Research & Writing Specialist for the Capital Habeas Unit to be stationed in the Columbus office. The Federal Public Defender, a branch of the U.S. Courts operates under the authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 USC 3006A, to provide defense services to indigent persons in federal criminal cases and related matters in the federal courts. The Capital Habeas Unit represents state death sentenced individuals in federal habeas and state clemency proceedings.
Duties: The research & writing specialist is an attorney position which provides advanced research and writing support to the Assistant Federal Defenders in the unit. Specifically the individual writes briefs, motions, petitions, and legal memoranda. The individual will be a part of a team of attorneys and investigators representing death sentenced individuals. The individual does not ordinarily sign pleadings or make court appearances unless it is determined by the Defender, or the Supervising Attorney for the Unit, to be appropriate for training and other circumstances.
Salary and Benefits: Starting salary will be commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the applicant. This position is excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive Civil Service. The position does offer federal government employment benefits including health and life insurance, retirement and the Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit).
Conditions of Employment: All application information is subject to verification. Appointment to the position is contingent upon a background investigation including an FBI fingerprint check. Employees of the Federal Defender are members of the judicial branch of government; they are considered ‘at will’ and can be terminated with or without cause.
The successful applicant must be a graduate from an accredited law school and a member in good standing of a state bar or immediately eligible for bar admission. Applicants should have a commitment to providing quality representation to indigent defendants and have a reputation for personal integrity. Strong computer research, word processing, and interpersonal communication skills are essential for this position, as is the ability to analyze legal issues from lengthy, complex records and write clearly and concisely. Successful applicants will be able to prioritize projects and work both independently and cooperatively. Research & Writing attorneys may not engage in the private practice of law.
Qualified applicants should send a letter of interest, current detailed resume and references in PDF format to [email protected] including the position number (18-002) in the subject line . Applications will be accepted until February 2, 2017.
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Job Details for Research and Writing Specialist - Capital Habeas Unit
Requirements : The research and writing specialist position is an attorney position. Applicants must be: (1) a graduate of an accredited law school; (2) eligible to be licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas; and (3) admitted to practice in good standing before the highest court of a state. If not licensed in Texas at the time of hiring, the Research and Writing Specialist must become licensed in Texas within one year of employment. Appointment is subject to a satisfactory background investigation, including but not limited to an FBI name and fingerprint check. Employment also requires a person be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of such prior to entrance on duty.
Duties : A Research and Writing Specialist has the following duties: (1) advanced legal research and writing related to pleading and litigating claims for federal habeas corpus relief; (2) review and analysis of records and other collaborative work attorneys, mitigation specialists, investigators, and experts working in and with the CHU; (3) close and regular contact with clients; (4) field work, including gathering records and conducting investigations. A Research and Writing Specialist is required to stay up to date on the latest developments in habeas corpus and criminal procedure, and issues in forensic science and mental health that are relevant to the CHU’s cases. The Research and Writing Specialist is not an Assistant Federal Public Defender and does not ordinarily sign pleadings or make court appearances, but is otherwise responsible for attorney duties. This position will sometimes require work on holidays, evenings, and weekends. Frequent and extended travel may also be required.
The successful applicant will have an established commitment to, and a clearly demonstrated aptitude for, excellence in capital defense including a reputation for integrity. The successful applicant will have strong legal research and word-processing skills, the ability to analyze complex legal issues, and clear and concise writing. Applicants also must possess the ability to communicate effectively with clients, witnesses, colleagues, and court and agency personnel. This includes developing cultural competencies. Applicants must be able to work effectively in a team-based practice because they have strong interpersonal skills, can work independently, and can set priorities to meet critical deadlines. Appellate writing experience or experience in handling capital cases and at least three years of specialized experience are each preferred. Fluency in Spanish is desirable, but not required.
The starting salary for a Research and Writing Specialist falls within a range of $70,827 (JSP-11, Step 1) to $140,316 (JSP-15, Step 1) per annum. The salary of the successful applicant will be commensurate with the person’s qualifications and experience. The position is in the excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive Civil Service. The position offers federal government employment benefits, including participation in health and life insurance, retirement, and the Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit).
How To Apply
Qualified persons may apply by forwarding a letter of interest (mentioning announcement number 23-13), résumé, references, and representative writing sample. Capital legal experience should be described in detail. Send completed application to: Maureen Scott Franco, Federal Public Defender, Western District of Texas, 504 Lavaca St., Suite 960, Austin, Texas 78701-2860, or you may submit your required documents in a single PDF document named with applicant’s “last name, first name-Announcement 23-13 CHU RAWS” by email to [email protected] .
Electronic submissions sent directly to the Defender will not be considered. For applicants with disabilities, this organization provides reasonable accommodations, which are determined on a case-by-case basis. To request a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or interview process, contact personnel administrator Victoria B. Longoria at (210) 981-2081. More than one position may be filled from this announcement. Position announced Feb. 15, 2023, subject to the availability of funds; open until filled.
The federal Judiciary is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.
Research and Writing Position at FPD Office for Colo. and Wyo.
According to an announcement released by the Federal Public Defender Office, the Federal Public Defender, District of Colorado, seeks a Research and Writing Specialist. The Office of the Federal Defender operates under authority of the Criminal Justice Act, U.S.C. § 3006A, to provide representation in criminal cases in the federal courts. Such representation is provided by Assistant Federal Public Defenders.
The Research and Writing Specialist is an attorney position that provides advanced legal research and writing services to Assistant Federal Defender Staff. The Specialist’s duties include staying abreast of the latest developments in the law; disseminating this knowledge to Assistant Federal Public Defenders; and drafting motions, petitions and briefs in the federal courts. Research and Writing Specialists are support positions which generally do not involve client responsibilities. Research and Writing Specialists are not generally permitted to appear in court.
It is anticipated that the Research and Writing Specialist will provide support primarily to the Office’s Appellate Division. Within that Division, it is anticipated that the Research and Writing Specialist will provide priority support in matters arising from §2254 capital habeas appeals.
It is strongly preferred that applicants have experience in appellate representations. Because of the need to provide support in capital §2254 matters, it is preferred that applicants have experience in habeas generally and capital habeas in particular. Other related experience may, however, be considered. Applicants must be team oriented, exhibit strong research and writing skills, and possess a true commitment to criminal defense.
Applicants must be licensed by the highest court of a state, federal territory or the District of Columbia and be a member in good standing in all courts and jurisdictions where admitted to practice. Applicants are subject to a background security check. Salary is commensurate with experience.
Qualified individuals may apply by submitting a letter of interest, resume, and representative writing sample. Application deadline COB March 5, 2010. Applications should be sent to:
Office of the Federal Public Defender
633 17th Street, Ste #1000
Denver CO 80202
The Federal Public Defender is an equal opportunity employer.
Federal versus State Work
- Trial versus Appellate versus Postconviction Work
- Federal versus State Work Currently selected
- Specialty Areas in Indigent Defense Representation
Federal Indigent Defense Delivery Systems
In 1964, Congress enacted the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, which required federal district courts to adopt a local plan for furnishing counsel to indigent defendants. The Act mandated that the plans include the appointment of “private attorneys,” but also allowed almost all districts to add an alternative delivery system of a Federal Public Defender Organization (a governmental entity established within the judicial branch) or a Community Defender Organization (a private, non-profit organization, established by the local legal aid society or local bar association). All but a handful of the 94 federal judicial districts have used this alternative (with a substantial majority opting for a public defender organization). The Criminal Justice Act precludes, however, utilizing the public or community defender organization as the exclusive or almost-exclusive provider of government-funded representation, as it requires that “private attorneys shall be appointed in a substantial portion of the cases.” Those private attorneys (commonly described as “panel attorneys,” because they are selected from a court-approved panel of “qualified attorneys”) typically are used in a “substantial minority” of the indigent-defense cases. They usually are assigned to the individual case by the clerk of the court or the defender organization, rather than by a judge.
State Indigent Defense Delivery Systems
State structures used to provide government-funded counsel tend to vary in several respects from the structure of the federal Criminal Justice Act. Initially, the choice of delivery system commonly is made by the governmental unit providing the funding, rather than the local court. That governmental entity traditionally has been the county, but over the past few decades, many states have shifted to primary or exclusive state funding. The three most common indigent defense delivery systems are: (1) individually appointed private attorneys, (2) public defender offices, and (3) contract-attorney organizations (typically a private law firm or a non-profit entity, sponsored by the local bar association or legal aid society, which contracts to provide representation for a large group of cases).
Public defender agencies have long been favored in metropolitan areas, and a fairly recent survey of the 100 most populous counties found that 90 percent had public defender programs. Where states provide the funding, they commonly establish a statewide program, with regional offices (and, in some instances, a separate appellate agency). Other public defender offices are local agencies. The staff of larger offices commonly includes investigators and social workers as well as lawyers and paralegals. Systems using defender offices typically assign to those offices almost all indigent-defense cases, with the primary exceptions being (1) cases in which a potential conflict of interest precludes defender representation, and (2) “overflow cases” (where additional cases would exceed an agency-imposed caseload limit). Representation in these non-defender cases typically is provided through individual appointments, although some jurisdictions use a contract attorney program for such cases.
A substantial number of mid-size counties and most smaller counties do not have public defender offices. Here, indigent defense needs traditionally have been filled through individual appointments. In some judicial districts, appointment is made by the court, with the judge either exercising discretion in choosing counsel or relying upon a “neutral rotation system.” In other districts, the court is removed from the appointment process, with a rotation system administered by an independent official. In recent years, a growing number of mid-sized and small counties have moved to the contract system, with the contract firm agreeing to cover almost the entire indigent-defense docket, or a specific number of cases, for a flat fee or an hourly fee with caps (the typical fee system for individually appointed counsel).
Thus, if you have specific geographic ties that require you to be in a certain state, you may need to investigate what type of indigent defense delivery system exists in that area. Can you be a public defender? Would you have to be a panel attorney to do indigent defense work? We will talk more later about how to pick the right office for you, but it is helpful to have this background understanding of how indigent defense delivery systems in the states are structured when thinking about where you should apply.
Federal versus State
The job of federal defenders is, in many respects, quite different from that of their state counterparts. First, almost all federal defender work is felony work. Aside from minor offenses committed on federal park lands, there are not too many misdemeanor prosecutions. In contrast, a large part of a state public defender office’s caseload is going to consist of misdemeanor offenses.
Even at the felony level, the types of offenses often differ in state and federal jurisdictions. State defenders will handle everything from public urination to petty theft to serious homicide cases over the course of their careers. There will be public order offenses, theft offenses, drug offenses, weapon offenses, and violent offenses in state systems. There is a lot of variety in state systems.
In contrast, much of the federal criminal code focuses on drug offenses, weapon offenses, and economic crimes (money laundering, fraud, etc.). That is not to say that there is no violence. Obviously, combating organized crime, terrorism, and gang violence is part of the mission of federal prosecutors. However, federal defenders don’t typically deal with run-of-the-mill murder, rape, assault, or theft crimes.
A second difference between federal and state defender offices relates to the quality of the police force. Federal defenders represent individuals who have been the subject of federal investigations. Federal law enforcement agents tend to be more highly educated and better trained than many of their state counterparts. And they often make arrests after extensive and lengthy investigations. Warrants are more common in federal cases than in state cases. The practice of “snitching” – where a client agrees to cooperate and provide information to the prosecution in exchange for more lenient treatment – is much more common in the federal system than the state system. Part of a federal defender’s job involves counseling clients about when and how to snitch.
Federal defenders are paid more on average than state-level defenders and the judges before whom they appear are (again, on average) more educated and willing to entertain defense arguments than some of their peers on the state bench. Federal defender caseloads also tend to be smaller than state defender caseloads. There is just not as much federal criminal enforcement as there is state enforcement. That is not to say that federal defenders don’t have heavy caseloads, because they do. But they are more manageable than those in many state offices.
The smaller caseloads and lack of misdemeanor docket, coupled with the more professional and complete felony investigations and the draconian penalties that many federal defendants face if convicted means that there are far fewer trials in the federal system than in the state systems. Federal defenders tend to do a lot of motion practice – meaning that they often litigate complicated suppression motions based on alleged Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment violations. When there is cutting edge investigative technology, it is often the feds who are using it so a lot of those suppression issues arise in federal courts. But trials are relatively rare. In contrast, entry-level state public defenders will have a fair number of trials as they begin with misdemeanor dockets.
State public defender offices tend to hire entry-level defenders directly from law school whereas most federal defender offices don’t hire lawyers right out of law school. (The San Diego Federal Defenders is a notable exception to this rule.) Many federal defender offices do have Research and Writing Attorney positions that law students can apply for. These positions can often translate into full-time attorney positions after a year or two if there is enough funding.
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