DNA Project Attorney


The Michigan State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) received a two-year grant from the Department of Justice’s Post Conviction DNA Testing Assistance Program to continue its DNA Project. SADO’s project began in 2012 focusing on evaluating, from a defense perspective, the 11,000 untested sexual assault kits discovered in the Detroit Police Department’s (DPD) storage in 2009. Recently, additional untested DPD sexual assault kits have been discovered, as well as a few thousand more kits from counties throughout the state. With this continuation grant, the DNA Project Attorney will finish the DPD work and will work with individual prosecutors statewide to identify postconviction felony cases involving untested sexual assault evidence, obtain reliable testing, analyze results, and advocate for potentially innocent individuals. Specifically, the Project will determine whether any of the untested sexual assault kits could exonerate an actually innocent individual previously convicted of an offense without DNA analysis, or where the results of prior DNA analysis are called into question by new techniques.

SADO is seeking an attorney to manage and implement the project from January 3, 2018 to September 30, 2019.

The Project Attorney will:

  • Work with county and state prosecutors to establish a system for identifying and screening sexual assault kits.
  • Identify which sexual assault kits are connected to previously adjudicated cases.
  • Consult with previously adjudicated defendants and investigate their cases to select sexual assault kits for DNA testing.
  • Work with DNA experts and independent labs to implement the testing process.
  • Negotiate with prosecutors and litigate postconviction motions on the testing process and the response to results.
  • Work with prosecutors and other stakeholders on the response to the discovery of the sexual assault kits.
  • Train criminal defense attorneys on proper use of DNA evidence at trial.

The ideal candidate for Project Attorney should:

  • Be a member of the Michigan bar or eligible for transfer.
  • Have a background in science and an understanding of DNA evidence in criminal cases.
  • Have the skills to cooperate and collaborate with other stakeholders in the process including prosecutors.
  • Be a self-starter who can successfully manage and implement a unique project.

The position pays $67,000 per year and includes full State of Michigan benefits.

To apply:

Submit a cover letter and resume by November 17, 2017 to:

Attn: Wendy Dealca
State Appellate Defender Office
645 Griswold, Suite 3300
Detroit, MI 48226

Email: wdealca@sado.org
Fax: 313.965.0372

SADO is an equal opportunity employer.