July 21, 2008

Archaeologists of human souls

From the Lehigh Valley Morning Call:

New specialists delve deep to keep convicts off death row - Mitigating circumstances: Experts in showing why killers should live are now crucial in capital cases

Mitigation experts, who can be social workers, educators, psychologists or anthropologists, are becoming crucial as state appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court continue to demand more of lawyers mounting a defense in capital murder cases...

The specialists are archaeologists of sorts who dig and sift through decades of a defendant's life to unearth clues to his personality and behavior. Was he sexually or physically abused as a child? Did his mother have a complicated pregnancy? Did he suffer brain damage? Was his father an alcoholic?

The answers might convince a jury that a defendant's life should be saved...

Here is the mitigation specialist I hired back then on my only DP case. Couldn't have done it without her.

(Via StandDown Texas)

1 Comment:

Shelley said...

The guy I work for has a contract for state DP work, and I went along with his mitigation specialist to visit one of the clients. I finally worked up to ask, "So what exactly IS a mitigation specialist?" And she told me - I'm so glad they exist! What a crucial role they have.