Assistant Public Defender 2 – Wrongful Conviction Project at the Ohio Public Defenders Office

Assistant Public Defender 2 – Wrongful Conviction Project at the Ohio Public Defenders Office

2/28/2020 Assistant Public Defender 2 

Job Description 

Primary Location United States of America-OHIO-Franklin County

Organization Public Defender Commission

Classified Indicator: Unclassified

Bargaining Unit /

Exempt: Exempt

Schedule Full-time

Compensation: $17.89 – $50.98

Unposting Date Mar 10, 2020

Job Function Attorney/Legal 

Agency Contact Name: Cherish Berry 

Agency Contact Information: 

Assistant Public Defender 2(190007WE) 


The Office of the Ohio Public Defender seeks a committed, compassionate advocate for an Assistant Public Defender 2 (APD2) position for the Wrongful Conviction Project (WCP). The WCP is dedicated to identifying, investigating and litigating cases of actual innocence for incarcerated people in Ohio. The Project also works to educate others on the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions. 

A successful APD2 in the Wrongful Conviction Project must exhibit a strong commitment to indigent defense. They possess excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrate compassion for the WCP’s clients, their families, and all people who ask the WCP for assistance. They must have strong analytical skills, think creatively, be adept at legal research and writing, and have comfort advocating for clients in court. The WCP takes a collaborative approach to the analysis and investigation of innocence claims. The APD will work closely with the Project’s supervising attorney, as well as our investigator and law students as cases are reviewed and investigated. 

Essential job duties include but are not limited to: 

  • Screen and evaluate claims of wrongful conviction 
  • Research, analyze, and interpret complex issues of law. Prepare briefs, memoranda, motions, and other pleadings subject to review (e .g., work as co-counsel or lead-counsel on criminal cases at the trial, appellate, and post-conviction level) 
  • Participate with other attorneys in the formulation of legal strategies for a particular client 
  • Render legal advice to clients in conjunction with senior attorneys (e.g., correspond and meet with clients to explain legal strategies and obtain clients’ input and approval) 
  • Appear in state and federal courts to represent indigent criminal defendants 
  • Assist county public defenders and members of the private bar in researching complex legal issues and preparing briefs, memoranda, and motions 
  • Under general supervision, prepare cases for trial: independently try cases; examine witnesses; present legal arguments and evidence; conduct pre-trial conferences, hearings, and plea negotiations; conduct appeals; conduct other post-conviction matters 
  • Review drafts of briefs, memoranda, motions, and pleadings by legal interns. Assist in recruiting, training, and supervising legal interns and volunteers. Assign legal interns and other personnel the preparation of case files or to collect evidence or data for case work 
  • Answer inquiries from indigent incarcerated people concerning their wrongful incarceration (e.g., answer phone calls and letters from indigent incarcerated people and their families; initiate correspondence; review and research claims; initiate legal petitions where appropriate; appear in court on behalf of indigent clients) 
  • Train county public defenders and members of the private bar in the areas of forensic science and evidence most prevalent in cases of wrongful conviction, by presenting at seminars and conferences 
  • Interact with and assist the Innocence Network by participating in working groups and committees that focus on issues surrounding wrongful convictions 

PLEASE NOTE: A WRITING SAMPLE AND COVER LETTER MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH THIS APPLICATION. Your application will not be considered without a writing sample and cover letter. 

About the Office of the Ohio Public Defender (OPD) 

The OPD is the state agency responsible for providing legal representation and other services to people accused or convicted of a crime who cannot afford to hire an attorney. 

2/28/2020 Assistant Public Defender 2 

OPD Mission: Advocating. Fighting. Helping. OPD Vision: A Fair Justice System. OPD Values: Compassion. Dignity. Equity. Integrity. Service. Community. 

OPD Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: Our commitment to inclusion is inseparable from our commitment to a fair justice system. We strive to ensure inclusive spaces and services for our staff, our clients and our diverse Ohio community. We recognize that we can best meet our public defense mission by recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. Together, we commit to creating a culture of respect that enacts our values and supports success 

Follow OPD on Facebook and Twitter 

Benefits of joining the State of Ohio team: 

Extensive health benefits for all full- and part-time permanent employees Guaranteed 10 paid state holidays every year and paid leave accrues each pay period Choice of lunch and/or break schedules are available At least a 14 percent employer contribution to your OPERS pension plan Employee Tuition Reimbursement programs Life insurance coverage for all permanent employees See more at 

The Office of the Ohio Public Defender complies with federal and state disability laws and makes reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact Tamra Meister, ADA Coordinator, at 614-466-5394 or


Admission to Ohio Bar pursuant to Section 4705.01; licensed to practice law for minimum of 3 years; 3 years criminal law experience; admission to practice law in federal courts, excluding United States Supreme Court. 

Note: Temporary Certification for Practice in Legal Services, Public Defender, and Law School Programs may be accepted in lieu of License to practice law in State of Ohio pursuant to Gov. Bar R. IX of the Supreme Court of Ohio. 

Knowledge of employee training & development*; supervision*; human relations; policies & procedures of Office of the Ohio Public Defender (e.g., standards promulgated); general management*; legal counseling; interviewing; criminal law & judicial system & process in Ohio; public relations. Ability to deal with many variables & determine specific action; calculate fractions, decimals & percentages; prepare & review pleadings, briefs, motions & memorandum; gather, collate & classify information about data, people or things; handle complex legal issues involving significant risks, personal pressure & unusual attention to detail; establish good rapport with clients & their families &/or work cooperatively with county public defenders & members of private bar; handle contacts with federal, state & local officials or group representatives to resolve problems concerning specific clients or criminal law in general. (*)Developed after employment. 

The typical starting salary for this position is $60,000; however, the salary will be commensurate with relevant experience. 

This position serves at the pleasure and discretion of the State Public Defender. This position serves in a fiduciary relationship to the 

State Public Defender and will have an unclassified status per Ohio Revised Code 124.11 (A) (9). 

International omission of relevant information, falsification, or misrepresentation of information on the application will disqualify the applicant. In addition, such international acts are grounds for immediate termination of an employee. 

All final applicants tentatively selected for this position will be required to submit to urinalysis to test for illegal drug use prior to appointment. An applicant with a positve test shall not be offered employment. 

Unusual Working Conditions: Requires visits to Department of Rehabilitation on and Correction (DRC) facilities. Requires travel, to include overnight stay. The demands of representing trial-level and post-trial appellate clients do not fit neatly into a predictable daily or weekly work schedule. Employees must log 80 hours per two-week pay period. When required to work more than 80 hours in any pay period, compensatory me is accrued 

Background Check Information 

The final candidate selected for the position will be required to undergo a criminal background check. Criminal convictions do not necessarily preclude an applicant from consideration for a position. An individual assessment of an applicant’s prior criminal convictions will be made before excluding an applicant from consideration.  

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