Investigator Position in our Seattle Office



Investigator – Seattle, Washington


Position No.    22-02

Announced:     June 14, 2022

Closes:             Open until filled. Priority given to applications received by July 31, 2022


The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Washington (FPD) is accepting applications for a full-time criminal defense investigator for our Seattle office. The FPD operates under the authority of the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, to provide legal representation to people charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. The Court appoints our attorneys to represent accused persons before they are charged, upon arrest, for the appeals process, and through federal habeas corpus review.


Responsibilities: The investigator will provide criminal defense investigation and mitigation, under the direction of the case attorney, the Chief Investigator, and the Federal Defender, for our clients charged with criminal offenses or involved in post-conviction proceedings in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Our office occasionally represents clients charged in other districts.


We hope to find an investigator who has experience working as a member of defense teams, advocating for people accused of committing a crime, and showing the humanity of the people accused even when the evidence against them appears strong. They should have initiative, resourcefulness, creativity, compassion, and a desire to stand up for those with few resources— with a demonstrated ability to do so in the face of considerable power and influence. They will investigate cases at all stages of litigation; gather and maintain records; review and analyze discovery and case documents; conduct background investigations; locate and interview witnesses; report information gathered from interviews to attorneys and case teams; meet with clients regularly; identify and work with experts and assist with their contracts; document and photograph findings; serve subpoenas; coordinate witnesses for hearings and trial; provide assistance to attorneys and case team members; prepare declarations and affidavits; and testify at trials and hearings if needed. Investigators in the Seattle office may also be assigned to cases filed in the Tacoma courthouse.


The investigator will collaborate with teams of attorneys, paralegals, social workers, and other staff to uphold every person’s right to be presumed innocent and to receive a fair sentence if convicted. We provide a vigorous defense at trial and, if our client is convicted, at sentencing and on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences by developing mitigation evidence and presenting judges with fully developed views of our clients and their lives, not merely their charges.


Selection Criteria: The candidate selected will have a demonstrated commitment to quality representation and will have recent, substantial criminal defense investigation experience. Spanish fluency is a plus. They must be able to manage a challenging caseload, set and meet deadlines, organize case materials, determine priorities, travel within the United States and internationally, and work flexible hours. A reputation for integrity, the ability to assess and safely work within potentially dangerous environments, excellent communication and people skills, and proficiency in technology and social media are important considerations. Computer litigation support experience, familiarity with Western Washington, and knowledge of and experience working within Native American communities are helpful.


Requirements: The successful candidate must have a college degree, or the equivalent of three years of general experience, a minimum of three years of investigative experience, and working knowledge of investigative principles, practices, methods, and techniques. They must possess a valid driver’s license and be able to drive (including long distances). Partial telework is available for this position. Full-time telework is not. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, or meet the requirements of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and should be available to start no later than August 29, 2022. Offers are conditioned upon applicants being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of hire date. As a condition of employment, candidates must be fingerprinted and successfully complete a background check. A prior criminal conviction is not necessarily disqualifying.


Salary and Benefits: This position has a starting salary range of $73,098 to $123,114 (Grade 11, Step 1 to Grade 14, Step 1). The full performance salary range is $95,022 to $160,047 (Grade 11, Step 10 to Grade 14, Step 10). These ranges are based on the Judicial Salary Plan effective January 3, 2022. The salary will be based on professional experience. Benefits include health, long-term care, and life insurance, plus 11 paid federal holidays, 13 days of paid sick leave, and 13 days of paid vacation leave annually. (The rate of paid vacation leave increases with years of service.) The position is eligible for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), including the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), which matches up to 5% of employee contributions. Salary is paid biweekly and only by direct deposit.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Our office values diversity, is committed to equity and inclusion, and aspires to create a culture of mutual respect, collaboration, openness, and humility that honors the people we represent. We believe representation is better when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. We seek an investigator who shares this belief and commitment. We embrace the unique contributions our employees can bring to the FPD because of their backgrounds, social identities, and lived experiences. We are interested in applicants’ talent, intelligence, dedication, and persistence, and their desire to see that all people are treated fairly and respectfully—no matter the allegation or circumstance.


The FPD seeks applications from a diverse group of qualified individuals in terms of race, ethnicity, nation of origin, culture, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual identity, education, opinions, age, languages spoken, veteran status, disability, religion, and socio-economic circumstance. We especially encourage applications from members of the BIPOC community, people who have been affected by the criminal legal system, and people from other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.


How to Apply: Qualified persons may apply by emailing a letter of interest, résumé, and two professional references (including names, email addresses, and telephone numbers) to:


Colin Fieman

Federal Public Defender

Attn. Human Resources


Please submit application materials as PDFs via email to Preference will be given to applications received by July 31, 2022. Only applicants granted interviews will be contacted. Initial interviews may be conducted in person or via video conference.



Tuesday, June 14, 2022