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Director Position Available at the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

  • American Civil Liberties Union Foundation-Capital Punishment Project

Career Opportunity


American Civil Liberties Union

Durham, North Carolina


The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU), founded in 1920, is a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization, with more than 500,000 members and is dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the U.S. Constitution. The ACLU invites applicants for the position of Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. Although part of the national ACLU, which is headquartered in New York, the Capital Punishment Project is located in Durham, North Carolina.



The Capital Punishment Project is part of the ACLU’s newly created Center for Justice, which is leading the ACLU’s effort to transform our nation’s criminal justice system and end mass incarceration. The Center for Justice also includes the Criminal Law Reform Project and the National Prison Project.


The mission of the Capital Punishment Project is to end the death penalty across the nation. Through direct representation of capital defendants whose cases highlight the unfairness of capital punishment, as well as through other strategic litigation, advocacy, public education, and mentoring and training programs for capital defense teams, CPP promotes both abolition and systemic reform of the death penalty process.


The Director of the Capital Punishment Project leads a staff consisting of three full-time litigators, a mitigation specialist, a paralegal, an office manager, and one or more legal fellows. In addition, the Capital Punishment Project works closely with ACLU affiliates across the country, as well as the ACLU’s Communications Department, its Washington Legislative Office, and policy and advocacy experts affiliated with the Center for Justice.


The Director of the Capital Punishment Project reports to the Director of the Center for Justice.



  • Implement the Project’s strategic plan to achieve the Project’s chosen priorities; periodically reassess Project’s chosen priorities.
  • Develop and manage the Project’s litigation docket, which is primarily focused on trials and direct appeals.
  • Work with other parts of the ACLU to develop and coordinate the ACLU’s non-litigation advocacy relating to the death penalty.
  • Work with abolition coalition partners in formulating strategies to repeal the death penalty where possible and to curtail its use where not.
  • Supervise Project staff.
  • Manage the Project’s budget.
  • Advise and support ACLU state affiliates working on death penalty issues in their own jurisdictions.
  • Act as a public spokesperson for the ACLU on death penalty issues.
  • Work with the ACLU’s Development Department to communicate the Project’s goals and successes to foundation and individual donors and prospects.


Applicants must have J.D. degree and:

  • Significant death penalty litigation experience, including the development and presentation of mitigation evidence.
  • An ability to develop and implement multi-faceted campaigns that include litigation, public education, and media outreach.
  • Excellent analytic and writing skills.
  • A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, including the general public, national and local media, policy makers and others.
  • A demonstrated ability to think creatively and work independently.
  • Strong leadership skills, including experience supervising and mentoring lawyers and other professional advocates.
  • A strong record of working with other public interest advocates and organizations.
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and human rights.
  • Willingness to travel.


The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.


Applications should consist of a cover letter, a resume, the names of three references, and two representative writing samples. Please send materials to and reference [CPP-03/ACLU-W] in subject line, or mail applications to:


Human Resources


American Civil Liberties Union

125 Broad Street, 18th Floor

New York, NY 10004


Please indicate where you learned of this job opportunity.


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.


The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”

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