Using Mitigation Specialists in Federal Criminal Cases

Using Mitigation Specialists in Federal Criminal Cases

Many lawyers will tell you that, when it comes to federal criminal law, often sentencing the key issue.  Most cases resolve by way of guilty pleas in both the federal and state court systems, and there’s very little appellate review of sentences.  It’s therefore in your best interests, if you’re a defendant, that you pay special attention to how you present your sentencing mitigation case. 

Mitigation specialists play a crucial role in helping criminal defendants get a lower sentence in federal court. A mitigation specialist is an expert in evaluating factors that can influence a judge’s decision on sentencing. They work closely with the defense team and utilize a variety of strategies to present the defendant in the most favorable light possible.

Federal sentencing guidelines determine the sentence that a defendant receives. However, these guidelines take into account the nature of the offense and the defendant’s prior criminal history, among other things. Mitigation specialists work with the defense team to identify and present evidence that can help mitigate the sentence.

The mitigation specialist’s primary goal is to provide a comprehensive picture of the defendant’s life, including their past struggles and accomplishments, family relationships, employment history, and personal history. They do this through interviewing the defendant, family members, and anyone else who can provide insight into the defendant’s life. The mitigation specialist may also consult with experts in various fields, such as mental health or addiction, to obtain a complete picture.

Once the mitigation specialist has gathered all the relevant information, they work with the defense team to develop a comprehensive sentencing narrative. This narrative presents the defendant as a complex individual who was shaped by a range of factors that led to their criminal behavior. It highlights the defendant’s efforts to take responsibility for their actions, their progress towards rehabilitation, and their potential to contribute positively to society.

In addition to developing the sentencing narrative, the mitigation specialist may assist with negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors or presenting the sentencing narrative during the trial. Mitigation specialists may also be called upon to testify at the sentencing hearing and present evidence to support the defendant’s case.

Overall, mitigation specialists play a critical role in helping criminal defendants in federal court get a lower sentence. By providing a comprehensive picture of the defendant’s life, they can help the judge understand the unique circumstances that led to the defendant’s criminal behavior. This, in turn, can lead to a more fair and just sentence.  If you have any questions about the use of mitigation specialists in federal criminal cases, please call our firm at (803) 445-1333 or visit our website at