Investigator/Assistant Investigator
Office of the Federal Public Defender
Southern District of Texas (Houston)

The Federal Defender Office for the Southern District of Texas is hiring a full-time defense investigator to be stationed in Houston.


The Federal Defender Office is a government law office that provides legal representation to persons charged with committing federal crimes who cannot afford to hire an attorney. We are appointed to represent the accused upon arrest and through the completion of all appeals, including the U.S. Supreme Court and federal habeas corpus review. Charges we defend against include economic crimes, child pornography crimes, drug offenses, weapons offenses, immigration offenses, and violent crimes.


We are committed to cultivating a culture of acceptance and connectedness that honors the diverse backgrounds of the people we represent.

We employ attorneys, paralegals, defense investigators, information technology specialists, and legal assistants. We work together to uphold every person’s right to be presumed innocent and to a fair sentence if convicted. We provide a vigorous defense at trial and, if convicted, on appeal. We advocate for humane sentences by developing mitigation evidence and presenting judges with fully developed views of our clients as people, not criminals.


We value diversity and a commitment to equality, and we believe better representation occurs when members of the defense team have diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are interested in your talent, intelligence, dedication, persistence, and desire to see all people treated fairly and respectfully, no matter the allegation or circumstance.



  • A Bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA or 2.9 or better of a possible 4.0.
  • A minimum of three years of general experience.
  • A minimum of two years of specialized experience (investigative, criminal justice or comparable experience) to qualify for Assistant Investigator.
  • A minimum of three years of specialized experience to qualify for Investigator.
  • Spanish fluency.
  • Working knowledge of investigative principles, practices, methods, and techniques.
  • Experience working with diverse groups of people, such as economically disadvantaged people, people with emotional or mental health challenges, and those from disenfranchised communities.
  • The ability to keep confidences and protect relevant legal privileges.
  • The ability to use technology to review and organize information, to collect and analyze records and data, and to present information to team members, jurors, judges, and others in the criminal justice system.
  • The ability to advocate, as part of a team, for those accused of committing federal crimes.
  • The ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively.



  • Experience working as a member of the defense team advocating for people accused of committing a crime.
  • A working knowledge of court procedure and rules.
  • A desire to stand up for those with few resources, and the demonstrated ability to do so in the face of considerable power and influence.
  • A commitment to the humanity in the people accused, even when the evidence against them appears strong.
  • Considerable resourcefulness, initiative, creativity, and compassion.



  • Assist in determining the scope, timing, and direction of investigation.
  • Review, analyze, and summarize information and case-related documents using various technology.
  • Use computer hardware and software to write reports, create databases, and produce graphics and videos.
  • Present information in written and verbal form to attorneys and other defense team members.
  • Communicate openly and empathically with the accused client, the client’s family, and case-related witnesses.
  • Locate witnesses and conduct interviews, including defense witnesses, prosecution witnesses, and expert witnesses.
  • Assist in preparing clients and witnesses for testimony.
  • Arrange witness travel and logistics.
  • Locate, view, and/or retrieve relevant materials and objects for use as evidence.
  • Photograph, or otherwise document, persons, places, and things for pretrial, trial, and sentencing litigation.
  • Investigate the backgrounds of clients and case-related witnesses, including for educational, medical, psychological, familial, and criminal history related information.
  • Assist attorneys in pretrial, trial, and sentencing proceedings.
  • Give sworn testimony and assess the testimony and credibility of other witnesses.
  • Create sentencing videos or written submissions meant to lessen the client’s sentence or other exposure.


Starting salary commensurate with experience and qualifications of the applicant. Assistant Investigator (JSP 09, Step 1) $50,598 per annum. Investigator range of $74,334 (JSP 11, Step 1) to $125,197 (JSP 14, Step 1) per annum. The position includes same benefits as other federal government employees including health and life insurance, retirement, and Thrift Savings Plan. Salary is payable only by Electronic Funds Transfer (direct deposit). The position is in excepted service and does not carry the tenure rights of the competitive Civil Service.


Qualified persons may apply by sending a letter of interest (mentioning announcement number H22-01) and a résumé to: Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Texas, 440 Louisiana Street, Suite 1350, Houston, Texas 77002-1056, Attn: Marjorie A, Meyers or email in PDF format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. For applicants with disabilities, this organization provides reasonable accommodations, determined on a case by case basis. To request a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or interview process, contact Laura Dusthimer, Administrative Officer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Position announced October 26, 2021. Open until filled. No phone calls, please.


The Federal Public Defender is an equal-opportunity employer.
Position is subject to the availability of funds.