Mitigation evidence is critical to successfully representing a criminal defendant in any jurisdiction. These materials are substantive documents that document a defendant’s good character, reputation, and achievements. Such materials take many forms to include, but not limited to:
- character letters
- proof of education such as degrees, transcripts and academic awards
- certificates, awards and/or honors received
- employment information and history such as pay stubs, tax returns, letters from employers, awards, bonuses earned, promotion and performance information, etc.
- evidence of volunteer or community service
- substance abuse treatment records
- mental health treatment records
- medical records or evidence of physical disability
- proof of military service
- proof of charity work or contributions
- photographs and more
Mitigation evidence is the key to good criminal defense representation in most cases. When trying to negotiate a dismissal or a favorable plea deal, providing these materials to the prosecution enhances the ability to attain these goals.
Mitigation materials can also be provided to the judge for consideration on an ultimate sentence, either upon pleading guilty or after trial. They can also be used in the beginning of a case such as at an arraignment or soon after when arguing for bail, or even after a case has been closed, such as with representation before a parole board.
A mitigation package, containing many of the items referenced above, permits a criminal defense lawyer to better humanize and educate others about his client. The goal of submitting a mitigation packet is to minimize the severity and seriousness of charged conduct for purposes of influencing an optimal case result.
Obtaining mitigation evidence requires the assistance of the defendant and/or family members. Once a defendant is arrested or summonsed to appear in court, gathering these materials should be a top priority. If incarcerated, a defendant should designate a close friend or family member to assist with obtaining this information.
The importance of having these materials as early as possible in a case cannot be undermined. Once received, a lawyer can use this information to draft letters, bail memos, sentencing arguments and more on the client’s behalf. Doing so takes a lot of time and resources.
As such, many lawyers do not subscribe to this practice. If you have been charged with a crime, call the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III, Inc. today for a free consultation on how a properly drafted and assembled mitigation package can be beneficial for your case.
Mitigating evidence examples
The following is a nonexclusive list of possible mitigation materials that should be included in a mitigation package:
- Statements of support from family, friends, employers, co-workers, clergymen, and more.
- Proof of education such as degrees, and transcripts.
- Certificates, awards and/or honors received.
- Employment verification to include pay stubs, tax returns and letter from employer, performance evaluations, promotions, and other employment accomplishments.
- Evidence of volunteer or community service you may have performed.
- Substance abuse treatment records, if applicable.
- Mental health treatment records, if applicable.
- Evidence of physical disability, if applicable.
- Proof of military service, to include DD 214 discharge certificate, evaluation reports, awards, certificates, and overall personnel records, if applicable.
- Proof of charity work or contributions, if applicable.
- Tasteful photographs depicting you, family, friends and more in various aspects of your life.
- Any other information that highlights the positive qualities, attributes and aspects of your life.
If you have been charged with a crime, learn how preparing a mitigation packet can assist with negotiating a favorable pretrial or plea agreement to resolve your pending charge(s), and/or with sentencing preparation. Contact the Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III, Inc. today for a free consultation by calling (401) 351-5100 or sending an email.