Position Announcement

Staff Investigator / Investigative Fellow

Innocence Project New Orleans

 

Start Date: Immediate

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 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;
  • While the amount of time spent on different responsibilities may vary from week to week, locating and interviewing witnesses in the community will typically be the main task for the investigator.

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:

  • An understanding of issues bearing on criminal justice, social justice, racial justice, and wrongful convictions and, most importantly, the desire to learn more;
  • The willingness and ability, once trained, to knock on strangers’ door unannounced and interview them about difficult topics;
  • 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 $42,000 to $56,000. Salary will be commensurate with relevant experience.  IPNO offers a very competitive benefits package including medical/dental coverage, 30 days of paid vacation, and 401k match. We observe federal holidays, and the office is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day’s Day.

Application:

The position will be open until filled. Please e-mail a cover letter, resume, 3 references, and a writing sample (no longer than 3 pages) to openings@ip-no.org. Please include a salary demand in your cover letter. Please include the job title in the e-mail subject line. Do not call.

IPNO is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse work force reflective of the diverse communities we serve and support, with regard to race, culture, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, and caregiver status. IPNO works to advance racial justice and equity. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and legal system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.