Staff Investigator / Investigative Fellow
Innocence Project New Orleans
Start Date: No later than June 1, 2022
Open Until Filled
Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is hiring an investigator to investigate claims of factual innocence on behalf of incarcerated people in Louisiana. We are seeking an energetic, team-oriented, dedicated individual with an interest in investigation and/or work in the criminal legal system. This is a full time position with a minimum two-year commitment.
We encourage individuals with little to no defense investigation experience to apply as well as those with more substantial defense investigative experiences. Salary and title will be commensurate with relevant experience.
About Innocence Project New Orleans:
IPNO frees innocent people sentenced to life in prison and those serving unjust sentences. We recognize the root causes of wrongful convictions and unjust sentences as systemic racism and inequities. We work to expose and address these root causes by sharing our clients’ stories in court, the legislature, the community and the media. We support our clients living well and fully in the world after their release.
About the Position:
The investigator will work closely with the supervising attorney, staff attorneys, and the legal director, as well as with other investigators. The primary responsibility of the investigator is to interview clients and witnesses and assist in document requests, collection, review, and management. Travel is required and investigators often work unpredictable or nontraditional hours due to witness availability.
Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
- Locating and interviewing witnesses in the community;
- Documenting all investigative actions in detailed, timely written memos and reports;
- Communicating all investigative actions and progress directly to supervising attorneys in regular updates and meetings;
- Gathering documents and records from courts, government agencies, attorneys, and other sources;
- Managing a large file of documents in each case, and completing any related administrative tasks, like copying and filing;
- Meeting with incarcerated people in prison, including maintaining relationships with clients and their family members as appropriate;
- Traveling and conducting investigative tasks with irregular hours under often challenging conditions;
- Assisting in preparing for court hearings and legal filings, which will include paralegal work and preparing exhibits and demonstrative evidence.
- Drafting investigative plans in conjunction with supervisor attorneys that is guided by the legal requirements for filing and proving an innocence case in court;
- Learning and understanding the requirements for proving innocence in court under Louisiana and federal law;
- Drafting witness affidavits highlighting relevant facts under Louisiana and federal law.
IPNO is a small nonprofit so, in addition to their primary duties, the investigator will be expected to assist as necessary with other aspects of IPNO’s work such as fundraising, public education and advocacy, special events, policy efforts, office administration, and post-release assistance of clients. IPNO is a client-focused office where teamwork and collaboration to ensure IPNO’s overall effectiveness and success are expected and valued.
Skills and Qualifications Required:
- A basic understanding of issues bearing on criminal justice, social justice, racial justice, and wrongful convictions and, most importantly, the desire to learn more;
- Strong written and oral communication skills;
- Excellent follow-through;
- The ability to work independently within teams;
- The ability to communicate and work cooperatively with a wide range of people including government personnel and officials, law enforcement, attorneys, records custodians, students, imprisoned individuals and their families, and members of the community;
- Superb organizational skills, including organizing and maintaining enormous amounts of paper;
- The capacity and internal motivation to take initiative and think strategically;
- Willingness and desire to travel and work irregular hours under challenging conditions;
- Computer literacy, including proficiency with common office software;
- Valid driver’s license;
- Reliable transportation.
Experience and Qualifications Preferred:
- Familiarity with, or ties to, Louisiana;
- Demonstrated commitment to racial and social justice;
- Knowledge of/experience with the criminal legal system or government agencies.
Compensation and Benefits:
This position requires a minimum two-year commitment. The salary range for this position is $35,000 to $65,000. An applicant with no defense investigative experience will start as an Investigative Fellow at $35,000. The salary for an applicant with relevant defense investigative experience will be commensurate with their experience. IPNO offers very generous vacation time and competitive benefits, including medical, dental and vision, 401k match, and cellphone and mileage reimbursement. IPNO provides a work environment that encourages health and self-care. IPNO is a family and pet friendly workplace.
Postings are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Please e-mail a cover letter, resume and writing sample (no more than three pages) merged into a single pdf document to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please name this pdf document with your name and the position you are applying for. When emailing your application materials, please include your name and the position you are applying for (i.e. Jane Doe, Investigative Fellow; Jane Doe, Staff Investigator) in the e-mail subject line. Do not call or fax.
IPNO considers applicants for positions without regard to race, color, sex, religion, creed, gender identity and expression, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, former imprisonment or any legally protected status. We strongly encourage people from traditionally marginalized groups to apply.