Innocence Project New Orleans
Start Date: Immediate
Open Until Filled
Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) is hiring a Staff Investigator to investigate claims of factual innocence from imprisoned individuals. We are seeking an energetic, team-oriented, dedicated individuals with relevant experiences in investigation and/or work in the criminal legal system. This is a full time position with a minimum two-year commitment (longer preferred).
About Innocence Project New Orleans
Founded in 2001, IPNO frees innocent, life-sentenced imprisoned individuals, supports them living well and fully in the world after their release and advocates for sensible criminal justice policies that reduce wrongful convictions. IPNO is one of the most effective innocence organizations in the world. More of Louisiana’s citizens encounter the criminal justice system than those of any other place in the world. We believe that wrongful convictions and excessive, unjust sentences can be prevented in a smaller, more focused, and accountable criminal legal system. To date, we have freed or exonerated 44 individuals, including those freed by IPNO’s Unjust Punishment Project, who served over 950 years in prison between them.
About the Position:
The Staff Investigator will work closely with staff attorneys, the legal director, and the executive director. The primary responsibility of the Staff Investigator is to interview clients and witnesses and assist in document requests, collection, review, and management. Travel is required.
Responsibilities include but not limited to:
- Learning and understanding the requirements for proving innocence in court under Louisiana and federal law;
- Draft investigative plans in conjunction with supervisor attorneys that is guided by the legal requirements for filing and proving an innocence case in court;
- Gathering documents and records from courts, government agencies, attorneys, and other sources;
- Interviewing witnesses and preparing affidavits;
- 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;
- Managing a large file of documents in each case, and completing any related administrative tasks;
- Establishing and maintaining client relationships and relationships with family members;
- Traveling and conducting investigative tasks with irregular hours under often challenging conditions; and
- Other duties as determined by supervising attorneys.
The Staff Investigator will also assist in preparing for court hearings and pleadings which will include paralegal work and preparing exhibits and demonstrative evidence.
IPNO is a small nonprofit so, in addition to their primary duties, the Staff 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
- An understanding of issues bearing on criminal justice, social justice, racial justice, and wrongful convictions;
- The ability to learn, understand, and apply the law related to wrongful convictions, though no legal experience is necessary;
- The ability to learn, understand, and apply the basics of forensic science and DNA testing, though no science experience is necessary;
- Strong written and oral communication skills;
- Excellent follow-through;
- The ability to work independently within teams supervised by a lead attorney;
- 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; and
- Reliable transportation.
Experience and Qualifications Preferred
- Individuals with prior defense investigation experience strongly encouraged to apply
- Familiarity with and ties to Louisiana
- Demonstrated commitment to racial and social justice
- Knowledge of/experience with the criminal legal system or government agencies
- Bachelors degree, Associate’s Degree, or relevant experience
Compensation and Benefits
This position requires a minimum two-year commitment. Salary pay scale ranges from $35,000 – $65,000 based on years of experience. IPNO offers competitive benefits and generous vacation time, including medical/dental, 401k match, and cellphone 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 single PDF document with your cover letter, resume, and writing sample (no more than three pages) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the job title –Staff Investigator— in the e-mail subject line. Please 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.