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 Capital Cases

CCA staff has provided mitigation services in dozens of capital cases in New York and other states, as well as in Federal capital cases.   CCA staff recognizes the importance of doing capital mitigation work using a multi-disciplinary team consisting of attorneys, capital mitigation specialists, investigators, mental health experts, and other individuals with necessary expertise.   Mitigation services include: counseling and extensive background investigations of defendants charged in potential death penalty cases; collateral interviews, writing social history reports, development of mitigation theories for penalty phase, and where necessary, working with the capital defense team to help identify and prepare witnesses and exhibits for the sentencing phase of a capital trial.

CCA’s capital mitigation staff receives training both in-house and from some of the most highly respected training programs nationally. CCA staff has participated in training provided by the National Legal Aid Defenders Association, “Life in the Balance”, and the National Association of Sentencing Advocates, “Death Penalty Mitigation Institute.”

List of Services

  • thorough and comprehensive life-history investigation which includes gathering records from a broad array of sources and interviewing people who have known the defendant and his or her family members;
  • development of a detailed social history, based on the records collected and interviews with the client,  his family members, and other significant people in his life;
  • preparation of a genogram and/or time line;
  • assistance in using life history information to advocate for the prosecution to opt against seeking the death penalty, and where appropriate, the development of a written mitigation report;
  • assistance in using the defendant’s life-history information to negotiate for a settlement that negates the possibility of a death sentence, and where appropriate, the development of a written proffer;
  • assistance with preparing for a capital sentencing proceeding, which includes the identification and development of mitigating factors, the identification and preparation of life-history records to be used as exhibits, and the identification and preparation of penalty phase witnesses. 
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