||(1) Angelton, (1 )San Antonio (1) Terrell
||Chief Public Defender
Under the general supervision of the Chief Public Defender, the Mitigation Specialist works with attorneys and other specialists in an effort, as part of a team, to mitigate and therefore minimize the assessment of punishment in capital cases. The purpose of the mitigation specialist is to prevent, in the event of a conviction, the client from receiving the death penalty.
- Embrace the Mission, Vision and Values of the R.P.D.O.
- Successfully work in and embrace the team concept that is demanded in R.P.D.O. work.
- Obtains and evaluates family histories, jail records, work records, medical records, educational records and any other record that may be mitigation against the imposition of a death sentence.
- Prepares correspondence, social histories, reports and other documentation of work.
- Conducts witness interviews and field investigations regarding competency, alcohol/drug dependence, mental health and/or any other contributing factor to client’s life, prepares reliable social histories and themes regarding mitigation based on the client's psycho-social development, future dangerousness, and other capital sentencing factors.
- Conducts witness interviews and field investigations related to intellectual disability and the adaptive deficits that are a part of intellectual disability.
- Prepares written reports/memoranda for all client interviews, witness interviews, record reviews and any other important aspect of the case and submits such to team members.
- Provides court testimony on behalf of clients, when needed.
- Maintains well-documented and dated files for all clients
- Assists attorneys in developing theories for the case, developing mitigation and generating narrative and inputting such into the trial notebook.
- Participates with all team members in preparation of mitigation and/or inputs mitigation witnesses into the trial notebook. Collaborates with team members in developing and expanding mitigation information as the case develops.
- Performs other job-related duties, within reason and capabilities, as directed.
- Participates in training sessions as requested.
- Minimum Bachelor's degree required.
- Experience collaborating effectively in a team.
- Background in social work a plus. Masters level Social Worker or Licensed Clinical Social Worker preferred.
- Previous defense mitigation or sentencing advocacy experience preferred.
- Previous capital mitigation experience highly preferred.
- Bilingual (English/Spanish) a plus.
- Valid Texas driver's license and reliable transportation;
- An ability and willingness to travel extensively including overnight.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Knowledge of the techniques, principles and methods used in criminal investigations;
- Knowledge preferably of the Texas criminal justice system, laws, and procedures as they apply to capital cases;
- Knowledge of social services and government relations as they relate to indigent defense administration;
- Ability to keep accurate notes and records;
- Ability to prepare and present clear, concise and comprehensive reports;
- A commitment to learn and understand technical material in such disciplines as medicine, mental health, physical and social sciences;
- Ability to obtain information through interviews and the ability to assess the credibility of witnesses;
- Ability to gather and analyze facts and evidence and draw valid conclusions;
- Ability to manage multiple cases, workload changes and work under stress to meet deadlines;
- Ability to organize and prioritize workload to manage cases efficiently;
- Skill in communicating effectively with diverse groups of individuals utilizing tact and diplomacy
- Ability to operate a personal computer, Microsoft Office Suite and basic office equipment;
- Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with fellow team members, representatives of other agencies, clients, family members of clients and the general public;
- Ability to comport and comply with RPDO policy, procedures and methods;
- Shows initiative and the ability to self-start and not wait on direction;
- Willingness to learn and ask for help from his/her team or others within RPDO;
- Willingness to do work that reflects the Mission, Vision and Values of the RPDO;
- Positive office behavior with respect to time, attendance, attitude, setting aside ego to be a team player and cooperating with Administration.
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. Must possess a valid driver’s license, liability insurance as required by law and be able to safely operate a vehicle in furtherance of job requirements.