This paper describes the experiences of a sociologist as a mitigation expert during the "typical" first degree murder case, from indictment through the penalty phase of the trial. The author, who has worked in death penalty cases (capital murder) since 1988, has served as a mitigation expert in over 40 such cases. Topics covered include: working with a death penalty mitigation team and what to expect; interviewing the client, family members and others significant to the defense; making a genogram; making a time line of the client's life; preparing for trial; and the style and content of your testimony and getting qualified.

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