Supervising Assistant Federal Defender (CHU Chief), Southern District of Ohio

Supervising Assistant Federal Public Defender (CHU Chief)

Posting Date: March 16, 2020
Closing Date: Until filled

The Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Ohio is accepting applications for the position of Supervising Assistant Federal Defender for the Capital Habeas Unit (CHU Chief) 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 CHU represents state death-sentenced individuals in federal habeas, lethal injection, and state clemency proceedings.

Duties: The CHU Chief will report directly to the Federal Public Defender and will be responsible for managing the CHU. This will include, but will not be limited to, supervising and overseeing the training of CHU staff, participating in the staff selection process, and helping to recruit diverse and qualified applicants when vacancies arise. Substantial administrative responsibilities will also be required.

The CHU Chief will oversee and provide guidance to attorneys, and staff charged with the representation of petitioners in federal capital habeas and related proceedings, and work collaboratively with attorneys and staff. The CHU Chief will also carry their own caseload and personally represent and advocate for clients on death row.

This position will require work on holidays, evenings, and weekends, as the nature of the cases require. This position also requires travel. Assistant Federal Defenders may not engage in the private practice of law.

Requirements: The successful applicant must be a graduate from an accredited law school, a member in good standing of a state bar, and immediately eligible for District Court/Circuit Court bar admission, if not already admitted. At least 10 years of legal work experience is desired. Some management experience is preferred, as is either current or prior employment by a CHU. Significant experience in capital cases, habeas and/or post-conviction work is required. Experience in the trial of criminal and capital cases is preferred. Experience and understanding of clemency proceedings and method-of-execution litigation is preferred. Applicants should have a commitment to providing high quality representation to indigent defendants and have a reputation for personal integrity. The successful applicant will be a talented legal writer and a proven advocate and litigator in capital habeas and related cases, with substantial experience handling capital post-conviction. The successful applicant must be team oriented, committed to indigent criminal defense, committed to staff diversity, committed to staff development and training, and committed to fostering the office’s role as a resource to other CHUs and private attorneys in capital habeas and related cases.

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. A successful applicant must be able to prioritize projects and work both independently and cooperatively with AFD’s and CHU staff, and must be willing to devote substantial time to administrative and management tasks.

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 Public Defender are members of the judicial branch of government; they are considered ‘at will’ and can be terminated with or without cause.

Application Information: Qualified applicants should send a letter of interest, current detailed resume, references and a writing sample in PDF format to

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Ohio is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The FPDO provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. This position is subject to the availability of funds.