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Capital Mitigation Specialist/Investigator

Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
Southeastern Virginia Capital Defender Office
Capital Mitigation Specialist/Investigator
Starting Salary $44,658
The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (VIDC), a Commonwealth of Virginia independent agency which provides legal representation to indigent criminal defendants through the administration of a state public defender system and the certification of court appointed counsel, is accepting applications for the position of Capital Mitigation Specialist/Investigator in the Office of the Capital Defender for Southeastern Virginia. The office is located in Norfolk, Virginia. The Office of the Capital Defender is principally a trial-level office, representing indigent clients charged with capital murder throughout the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. The Capital Mitigation Specialist reports to the Capital Defender for Southeastern Virginia and is employed at will.
The Office of the Capital Defender for Southeastern Virginia delivers capital defense services through a staff of dedicated attorneys, capital investigators (mitigation specialists and fact investigators), and office manager, as well as contracting with outside mitigation, mental health, and other experts. The office emphasizes team-based defense and a holistic approach to questions of culpability and mitigation. The office is committed to the following values:
  • Excellence in the provision of capital defender services for indigent defendants, accepting that ABA Guidelines for high quality representation in capital case set a minimum standard in the field;
  • Client-centered and relationship-based work that respects the humanity and dignity of all involved in the criminal justice system; and
  • Innovation and creativity in the provision of capital defense services.
The primary function of the Capital Mitigation Specialist/Investigator is assisting in the representation of indigent defendants facing capital charges at the trial level through the development of evidence relevant to alleged culpability and possible punishment. The responsibilities of the Capital Mitigation Specialist/Investigator include developing and maintaining positive and productive working relationships with clients and significant other case participants; investigating the facts and circumstances of the alleged offense and the client’s background; developing personal, family, and social histories; locating and interviewing potential witnesses for pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings; traveling to correctional institutions within and without the state to visit with incarcerated clients and witnesses; requesting, reviewing, analyzing, and summarizing records and information; organizing and administering the case file; providing support for attorneys preparing for, and in, litigation and court proceedings, including but not limited to serving subpoenas, witness relations, and the development of demonstrative exhibits; assisting in the identification, selection, preparation, and presentation of expert witnesses; and researching and writing on myriad of issues, including mental health. 
The Capital Mitigation Specialist/Investigator will be expected to attend, and participate in, in-house and external trainings directed to improving and enhancing the investigator’s skill set in the provision of capital defender services; to assist in design, preparation, and presentation of in-house and external trainings in areas of specialized knowledge or interest; to provide support on a consultative basis to other capital defense practitioners; and  to provide additional services and duties as the needs of the office dictate.
Applications will be judged according to the following criteria (in no particular order), and applicants are expected to address the criteria in their application.
Minimum Qualifications:
   College degree;
   Valid driver’s license, with the ability and willingness to travel within and without the jurisdiction, including travel to courts and various correctional institutions;
   Excellent Communication abilities;
   Highly developed interpersonal skills;
   A commitment to working with clients in poverty;
   A commitment to excellence in the provision of criminal defense and capital defender services;
   Creativity and energy in providing indigent defense and capital services; and
   Strengths in team work, client relations, and relationship building.
Preferred Qualifications:
   Post-graduate qualifications in relevant areas; including but not limited to: social work; forensic psychology; psychiatry; or other related fields;
   Related work experience (criminal defense investigation or defense mitigation work);
   Experience with key areas related to the position, such as mental health, medical, mental, and educational disabilities, prisoners and prisons (or other institutional settings), data collection, management and analysis; criminal justice, forensic sciences, and the impact of race and poverty;
   Computer literacy, including but not limited to, the use of Microsoft Office applications, as well as spreadsheet, database programs, case management software, and new media research; and
   Foreign language proficiency.
How to Apply:
Applicants should submit (1) a completed state application, (2) cover letter with an academic or professional writing sample, (3) resume (“curriculum vitae”), and (4) references online to Virginia State Job’s website,, and search under Indigent Defense Commission or use the quick link below. Inquiries should be directed to Douglas A. Ramseur, Capital Defender, at 757-314-2354 or The position will remain open until filled.
Equal Opportunity Employer