Death Penalty Investigator
JOB ANNOUNCEMENT – October 14, 2022
Death Penalty Investigator
The Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) invites applications for a Death Penalty Investigator to join its Capital Litigation Unit (CLU).
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 state and local 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 United States 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. Our advocacy has advanced significant decarceration reforms in the Georgia General Assembly. For more information about SCHR, visit www.schr.org.
About the Position
SCHR’s Capital Litigation Unit provides direct representation to people facing the death penalty in Alabama and Georgia. 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.
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 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. A willingness to venture into new situations and tenacity are also essential characteristics.
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 their 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
A driver’s license is required. Fluency in Spanish, or a background in organizing, journalism, or mental health will be helpful, but is not required. People with direct personal or familial experience with the criminal legal system are encouraged to apply.
Commitment and Compensation
SCHR seeks a commitment of at least three years. Start date is negotiable, but late November/early December would be preferred. Salary is commensurate with experience, within SCHR’s modest, public interest salary range of $48,000 – $65,000. 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).
SCHR’s office, located in downtown Atlanta, is open. Most staff members are working hybrid schedules and much of the investigator position requires conducting visits and interviews in person. SCHR provides PPE for employees and has a mandatory safety protocol. Employees must be fully vaccinated.
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. Email [email protected] 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;
- Writing sample (could be an article for a blog, academic paper, policy brief or whatever shows your style and voice); and
- Contact information for three references
The Southern Center for Human Rights is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, which welcomes qualified applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, gender-identities, sexual orientations, abilities, nationalities, military status, as well as those who have personal experience with the criminal legal system