WHAT IS A SENTENCING MITIGATION REPORT
The primary responsibility of the sentencing mitigation specialist is to humanize the defendant. Most judges have a great deal of discretion in sentencing. Thus, we want the sentencing judge to understand that although the defendant did something wrong, and punishment may be necessary; incarceration is not an exclusive form of punishment. There are diversion programs, community service, probation, restitution, and other less punitive penalities.
In many criminal cases, a guilty plea or verdict is not immediately followed by the pronouncement of a sentence. This is often due to the necessity of an investigation into certain aspects of the offender's life and into the community support system. After a sentence mitigation report is prepared, the report is submitted to the judge, it will provide a detailed picture of the offender and circumstances surrounding the crime. It also offers more information used to determine the best sentencing option for a particular offender. The sentence mitigation report is relied upon by judges around the world to assist in determining how likely the offender is going to re-offend, what type of sentence would be an effective method of rehabilitation or retribution, and what type of support system the offender is likely to have upon completion of the sentence. The sentence mitigation report, is also a report that can follow the defendant thru the criminal justice system, and can impact a variety of decisions and decision makers.
* The Judge can use for sentencing.
* The corrections agency uses it for
setting conditions of probation and
* The probation office uses it for setting
conditions of probation and supervision level.
* The parole agency uses it probation considerations.
The sentencing mitigation report is a comprehensive report that touches on every aspect of a client's life: beginning prior to their birth. Issues such as pre-natal distress, early childhood illnesses and injuries, the use of drugs and alcohol, academic strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal relationships, acute and chronic medical issues, criminal history or lack of, toxic exposures, military service, and situational stressors leading up to the offense.
In addition, the sentencing mitigation report would include:
* Childhood History
* Family Background
* Trauma and/or abuse history
* Educational and work history
* Results of psychological testing
* Mental health issues/diagnoses and undiagnosed
* Brain damage and/or cognitive impairment
* Drug/Alcohol use or addiction
* Generational patterns
* Gang affiliation
* Community violence
* Systemic failure
* Toxic environments
Sentence Mitigation Institute (SMI), can perform neuro-
psychological assessments and evaluations, psychological testing to include personality tests, and academic tests. These services are performed under the supervision of a board certified and licensed clinical psychologist.
FORENSIC PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS
Forensic Psychophysiological Examinations, previously called polygraph examinations, is a well structured examination that can identify the veracity of statements made by the client. It has been our experience that a forensic psychophysiological examination can mitigate guilt and can exonerate clients prior to charging.