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Organization TypePublic Interest
Years of Experience
Date Last Verified
Federal Public Defender Capital Fellowship Fellows will work directly and full-time with select capital trial teams around the country and in regular and close consultation with CRCP and FDPRCP staff to learn about capital defense work. Will engage in direct representation of at least one capital client, provide assistance and case consultation on other cases, and develop pleadings and related litigation resources to be utilized in the training and consulting efforts of the FDPRCP, as applicable. Will undertake any and all appropriate substantive duties and responsibilities to the client and case, including , strategic litigation assessment, budget drafting, fact and mitigation investigation, legal research, pleadings development, expert outreach and engagement, development of presentation materials for submission regarding authorization, participation in court proceedings, and client engagement and witness contact. Will be expected to appear in court, research, draft, and argue motions, put on evidentiary hearings, gather and review records, identify and interview witnesses, and locate and work with experts. Will also have access to capital training, both individually (e.g., Annual Federal Death Penalty Strategy Session Program) and with the Fellow’s defense team (e.g., Authorized Case Training Programs), as well as other formal professional development opportunities and resources. Will be employed by the Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., during the term of the Fellowship and will be directly accountable to the Executive Director of the Federal Defenders, with respect to all administrative matters, including work and leave time, benefits, and travel. Will be supervised by the CRCP Director as well as other CRCP and FDPRCP staff associated with the cases on which the Fellow works. During the Fellowship term, work responsibilities will be coordinated through one CRCP supervisor. Will be responsible for coordinating, structuring, and providing mentoring, training, supervision, and assistance – in addition to the defense team with which each Fellows is co-counseling a capital case. Will meet regularly with their CRCP supervisor and others for work updates, feedback, assignments, guidance, and evaluation. Supervision meetings will include discussion of the status of current litigation and cases, assignments and guidance, work evaluation, training opportunities, and other issues relevant to the substantive and professional development of the Fellows. Expected to join a capital team representing a client in a case that may be pre-authorization or already authorized as a capital prosecution. Will initially be determined by the experience and skill of the Fellow; evolve as the Fellow gains knowledge and skills specific to capital work. For example, initially, an experienced and skilled trial attorney Fellow might serve as second chair in a trial case, while a Fellow with less trial experience might serve as third chair, and with more appellate or writing experience may take on greater responsibility for the capital motions practice. Lead and learned counsel on each mentor defense team will have agreed to provide close support and guidance to the Fellow throughout the Fellow’s case involvement, committing to full engagement of the Fellow as a regular team member. Fellow interaction and formal meetings with defense team members will be determined by case demands, but consist of at least weekly structured direct communication.
Qualification and Experience
QUALIFICATIONS: 3-5 years’ experience as federal or state public defenders, or commensurate criminal defense experience. Attorneys with federal and/or state criminal defense experience in defender offices as well as from private practice are encouraged to apply. Should be curious, energetic, and appreciative of the seriousness of capital work; candidates must be effective independent and self-motivated attorneys.
Period: 18-24 months
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