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Join Our Team


The Forensic Project is part of the post-conviction division of the Capital Area Private Defender Service, based in Austin, Texas. The project reviews Travis County convictions that rely in part on DNA evidence. The Austin Police Department DNA Review Project and the Department of Public Safety Mixture Review Project are divisions of The Forensic Project that review convictions in Travis County that involve potentially problematic DNA analysis.

The APD DNA Lab was shuttered in July 2016 after the Texas Forensic Science Commission issued a report raising serious concerns. The Forensic Project was created in early 2017 and funded through Inter-Local Agreement between the City of Austin and Travis County to review convictions on behalf of potentially affected defendants to determine whether the DNA was material to conviction, to obtain expert scientific review of the cases in which DNA was material, and to provide post-conviction representation for defendants whose convictions are based on DNA analysis and/or testimony that is no longer scientifically supportable.

Texas began to realize the problem with DNA mixture evidence and CPI in 2015. A statewide issue, crime laboratories provided district attorneys with lists of cases involving DNA mixture evidence and prosecutors sent “Brady notices” to potentially affected persons. Travis County opted to review its own convictions, and The Forensic Project does so on behalf of the potentially affected defendants. If the DNA mixture evidence is determined to be material to the conviction, The Forensic Project seeks scientific reinterpretation and pursues post-conviction litigation on behalf of the affected person.

In late 2021, The Forensic Project and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office were awarded a combined grant from the United States Department of Justice to continue materiality and scientific reviews of these cases. This grant will fund a staff attorney position for approximately two years.

The Forensic Project is seeking a Staff Attorney to conduct materiality reviews for cases that were potentially affected by DNA analysis in both the APD and DPS DNA labs. The ideal candidate is a highly organized and self-directed individual with criminal defense/innocence project/post-conviction experience and a demonstrated commitment to excellent, client- centered representation.

The ideal candidate possesses the following qualifications:

< >The candidate must be licensed to practice law in Texas by the start date;< >Minimum of four years of criminal defense/post-conviction/innocence work experience or its equivalent preferred but not required (will consider clinical and clerkship experience);Experience investigating and litigating cases involving DNA evidence;Demonstrated commitment to client-centered indigent defense;Experience in criminal defense/post-conviction/innocence investigations, including knowledge of national standards for defense investigation;Familiarity with national and state indigent defense best practice standards preferred;Demonstrated high-quality research and writing skills;Experience evaluating felony cases for the weight of the evidence;Demonstrated diligence and initiative to set and accomplish goals and meet deadlines;Ability to function well in a team-based setting;Experience working with diverse populations;Knowledge of Texas habeas law and practice preferred;Knowledge of DNA and other forensic disciplines, exhibited through either trial experience, appellate/writ experience, or courses taken; andFluency in Spanish preferred.Primary Responsibilities:< >Review cases to identify possible wrongful convictions and be prepared to conference them in a team setting;Identify and prioritize cases for expert review of DNA evidence;Keep clients updated on the progress of their materiality review;Maintain highest standards of advocacy, professional responsibility, client-centered representation and best practices in all areas of post-conviction review and representation;Keep abreast of legal opinions, legislative updates, forensic science developments and evolving best practices;Document and track time spent on casework and other duties.Salary is commensurate with experience. Generous benefits package includes health, dental, retirement and other benefits. The Forensic Project is willing to consider candidates located outside of the Austin, Texas area who are willing to work remotely. Start date subject to final contract implementation.

To apply, please email Stacie Lieberman, the Director of The Forensic Project, at Please include in one document a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and professional references. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. We will be accepting applications until the position is filled; however, priority will be given to applicants who submit applications by January 15, 2023. Past applicants are encouraged to re-apply if interested.

CAPDS is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity. All candidates are encouraged to apply.

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