skip to content


Investigator Position Available: Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office

Monday, June 27, 2011

  • Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office

 Virginia Indigent Defense Commission
Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office
Investigator II
Salary $48,183

The Virginia Indigent Defense Commission (VIDC) is accepting applications for the position of Investigator II (hereinafter “capital investigator”) in the Northern Virginia Capital Defender Office (NoVA CDO). The office is located in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. NoVA CDO is principally a trial-level office, representing indigent clients charged with capital murder throughout northern Virginia. In addition, NoVA CDO is involved in a smaller number of direct appeals of capital convictions and provides resource and consultative services to other capital trial counsel. The capital investigator reports to the Capital Defender of the Northern Virginia Office and is employed at will. The successful candidates will be subject to fingerprint based criminal background checks.

NoVA CDO delivers capital defense services through a staff of dedicated attorneys, capital investigators (mitigation specialists and fact investigators), and office manager, as well as contracting with outside mitigation, mental health, and other experts. NoVA CDO emphasizes team-based defense and a holistic approach to questions of culpability and mitigation. NoVA CDO is committed to the following values:

Excellence in the provision of capital defender services for indigent defendants, accepting that ABA Guidelines for high quality representation in capital case set a minimum standard in the field;
Client-centered and relationship-based work that respects the humanity and dignity of all involved in the criminal justice system; and
Innovation and creativity in the provision of capital defense services.


The primary function of the capital investigator is assisting in the representation of indigent defendants facing capital charges at the trial level through the development of evidence relevant both to alleged culpability and to possible punishment. The responsibilities of the capital investigator include developing and maintaining positive and productive working relationships with clients and significant other case participants; investigating the facts and circumstances of the alleged offense and the client’s background; developing personal, family, and social histories; locating and interviewing potential witnesses for pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings; traveling to correctional institutions within and without the state to visit with incarcerated clients and witnesses; requesting, reviewing, analyzing, and summarizing records and information; organizing and administering the case file; providing support for attorneys preparing for, and in, litigation and court proceedings, including but not limited to serving subpoenas, witness relations, and the development of demonstrative exhibits; assisting in the identification, selection, preparation, and presentation of expert witnesses; and researching and writing on myriad of issues, including mental health.

The capital investigator will be expected to attend, and participate in, in-house and external trainings directed to improving and enhancing the investigator’s skill set in the provision of capital defender services; to assist in design, preparation, and presentation of in-house and external trainings in areas of specialized knowledge or interest; to provide support on a consultative basis to other capital defense practitioners; and to provide additional services and duties as the needs of the office dictate.


Applications will be judged according to the following criteria (in no particular order), and applicants are expected to address the criteria in their application.

Minimum Qualifications Investigator II:

· College degree;
· Valid driver’s license, with the ability and willingness to travel within and without the jurisdiction, including travel to courts and various correctional institutions;
· An organized and precise work practice with attention to detail;
· Clear written and oral expression;
· Highly developed interpersonal skills;
· A commitment to working with clients in poverty;
· A commitment to excellence in the provision of criminal defense and capital defender services;
· Related work experience (criminal defense or capital defense investigation or mitigation work)
· Creativity and energy in providing indigent defense and capital services; and
· Strengths in team work, client relations, and relationship building.

Preferred Qualifications for Position as Investigator II and as Mitigation Specialist:

· Post-graduate qualification in relevant area;
· Experience with key areas related to the position, such as mental health, medical, mental, and educational disabilities, prisoners and prisons (or other institutional settings), data collection, management and analysis; criminal justice, forensic sciences, and the impact of culture, race and poverty.
· Computer literacy, including but not limited to, the use of Microsoft Office applications, as well as spreadsheet, database programs, case management software, and new media research; and
· Spanish language or other relevant foreign language fluency.

How to Apply:

Applicants should submit (1) a completed state application, (2) cover letter with an academic or professional writing sample, (3) resume (“curriculum vitae”), and (4) references online to Virginia State Job’s website,, and search under Virginia Indigent Defense Commission or use the quick link below. Inquiries should be directed to Edward J. Ungvarsky, Capital Defender, at 703.875.0103 or The position will remain open until filled.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net
Legal info for the public