Darrow Defense College

Mitigation Training Program

Training to save one life at a time

Mitigation investigation is both intensely personal and methodical. A mitigation specialist assembles the pieces of a client's life, whether they're birth records, grade school report cards, Boy Scout memorabilia or prison disciplinary records. A competent mitigation specialist also knows how to talk with a client and their family, sometimes about subjects such as child abuse and drug abuse. These skills are only part of the foundation of what a good mitigation specialist must do to present a compelling narrative about a client's life. The Mitigation Training Program builds upon that foundation, training specialists to obtain the best possible information to make the case for life.

Individuals currently conducting a mitigation investigation in a pending capital case will be given a preference among applicants to this program. All participants must sign a confidentiality agreement promising to safeguard the details of the cases discussed at the seminar. During the course, participants will meet in several plenary sessions to hear experts discuss subject areas critical to a successful mitigator, including psychological testing, interview techniques and working with the client's family. Additionally, group break-out sessions will be held daily to further explore subject areas from the plenary sessions in the context of participants' pending cases.

The Mitigation Training Program strives to equip participants with the tools needed to provide excellent representation to capital defendants throughout the country. By safeguarding the rights of capital defendants through effective advocacy, we hope the Mitigation Training Program will reform the administration of criminal justice by saving one life at a time.

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For more information, contact Mary Hornschemeier Bandstra at mbandstr@depaul.edu.

The Center for Justice in Capital Cases