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The Mitigation Specialist
By Paul J. Bruno
Capital case defense attorneys have a duty to conduct a thorough investigation of possible mitigating evidence in every death penalty case.1 This responsibility, in large part, is met with the assistance of an expert mitigation specialist, also known as an expert mitigation investigator.
The scope of the mitigation investigation, as well as the role and responsibilities of the capital mitigation specialist, is articulated in the Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of the Defense Teams in Death Penalty Cases and the American Bar Association (ABA) Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases (Revised 2003).2 These guidelines define the prevailing professional norms relating to the capital mitigation investigation and have been endorsed by the ABA and the National Association of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists. The U.S. Supreme Court requires counsel to conduct the capital mitigation investigation in a manner cons
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