New ABA book helps practitioners litigate complex criminal cases

Top mitigation experts from across the nation with demonstrated practice wisdom collaborated to develop the new American Bar Association book, “Tell the Client’s Story: Mitigation in Criminal and Death Penalty Cases,” a practical resource guide designed to help practitioners to successfully litigate complex criminal cases. The guide also utilizes significant legal, social science, and behavioral science research findings that will inform practitioners on multi-disciplinary approaches to crafting courtroom strategy.

Using practical case studies, surveys, checklists, and appendices that are grounded in multi-professional scientific and clinical literatures, “Tell the Client’s Story” will give readers approaches to cogently and persuasively present mitigation evidence to decision makers. In addition to understanding the law and ethics of mitigation, you will learn how to:

• Develop consistent arguments for life imprisonment– rather than death – and mitigated sentences in other criminal cases through effective storytelling and theme-building;

• Build productive relationships with clients, witnesses, and experts;

• Utilize the Capital Jury Project’s empirical findings for successful jury selection and persuasion;

• Develop robust case theories;

• Collect and organize information crucial for compelling mitigation;

• Create a winning mitigation team and employ the cutting-edge methodology of structured case review;

• Proactively manage media coverage for positive mitigation outcomes, and

• Effectively present mitigation evidence at pretrial, voir dire, and penalty phases.

“Tell the Client’s Story” comes highly recommended by Carol Steiker, faculty co-director of the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School. “This well-organized and readable volume offers step-by-step guidance on how to theorize, collect, and present mitigation evidence,” she says. “The authors incorporate references to legal cases and standards, legal scholarship, and social science in a clear, concise, and accessible fashion.  No mitigation team should be without this volume, which is destined to become an instant “go-to” reference work for lawyers, mitigation specialists, and those who train or work with them.”