12:45 – 1:45 pm What is mitigation? Elizabeth Vartkessian This session covers the philosophical underpinnings and psychology of mitigation. Basics about the standard of care for mitigation investigation and the ways in which such evidence can be persuasively presented will be discussed.
1:50 – 3:20 pm Mitigation as Defense Based Storytelling Doug Passon Mitigation is about building connections and telling compelling narratives that place the humanity of clients at their center. This session looks at how storytelling techniques and utilizing various media can add dimension to the mitigation presented in criminal cases.
3:25 - 4:25 pm Trauma and brain injury Fred Sautter Trauma and brain injury are experienced by most people. How do these experiences interact with each other? How might we observe symptoms in our clients in our interactions? What techniques can advocates employ to be mindful of how these experiences and conditions may impact a client’s behavior?
4:30-4:40 pm Break
4:45-5:45 pm Contemplating Race in Your Case 2.0 Tanya Greene The American justice system was created with race in mind and its modern functioning places race at the center. There is no way to engage in effective defense work without a basic understanding of the role of race in our client's lives, in our own advocacy, and in how this impacts our ability to successfully partner with clients.
5:50-6:00 pm Wrap up
9:30 -11:00 Working with mentally ill clients – learning to LEAP Andrew Strenio A revolutionary, yet straightforward approach to deep listening that was created by Dr. Xavier Amador. Listening, Empathizing, Agreeing, and Partnering is especially critical when working with the mentally ill. In this session we will learn the basic techniques to LEAP. 11:05 - 12:05 Working with Veterans Brock Hunter Many veterans leave service with particular sets of experiences and often lack support to address these. This can often result in behaviors that may bring veterans into contact with the justice system. This session looks at some of the unique aspects of defending and working with veterans as clients. 12:10 – 1:15 pm Lunch 1:20-2:20 pm Breakouts Forensic linguistics Tammy Gales Linguistics is the scientific study of ways in which language varies across regional, social, and cultural contexts. Forensic linguists examine variations in language use -- for example, to help narrow down a suspect pool in threatening language cases, identify acts of bribery or conspiracy on wire taps, and reveal non-standard language use in cases of questioned witness statements. This talk with highlight ways in which forensic linguists have analyzed language variation in false confessions from vulnerable witnesses through our Capital Case Forensic Linguistics Innocence Project. Vicarious trauma and self-care Barb Picciano Caranci As defenders and advocates we stand in spaces where much suffering and hardship has occurred. How do we stay in this work without burning out, engaging in self-destructive behaviors, and staying personally healthy? Though this is a breakout session, Barb will be available to discuss trauma and self-care throughout the training. 2:25-3:25 pm Breakouts Death penalty as torture John Bessler This session traces the arguments that support viewing capital punishment as a form of torture in itself. Islamophobia and the criminal justice system Amith Gupta Fear and hatred enables people to hurt each other. In the current political climate understanding how these mechanisms specially impact Islamic communities can help us partner with and advocate for Islamic clients and communities facing severe sentences. 3:30-4:30 pm Working with victims Pamela Leonard Mitigation is about giving context to those involved in the justice process, including victims, survivors, and others impacted by the alleged actions of our clients. At times it can feel like if we acknowledge the harm and suffering present in all these cases that we cannot be effective advocates, but working with victims is central to changing the destructive nature of the adversarial system. This session discusses how we can bring context and empathy to those who have been harmed. 4:35-4:45 pm Break 4:50-5:50 pm Breakouts Culturally competent investigation Chris Chang The ABA Guidelines speak of the need for an investigation to be culturally competent, but what does that mean? How do we build teams that are able to connect with clients, their families, and communities? Whether coming from a similar or different background or perspective this session looks at the basics of ensuring we are keeping culture at the center of our work. Social Workers as Mitigation Specialists Katherine Atkins More and more people are becoming mitigation specialists and as the demand for mitigation grows there are moves to find university degrees where mitigation can be taught. Social work is one such place, however, there are real differences between being a mitigation specialist and social worker. This session looks at those differences from the experience of a MSW turned mitigation specialist. This session is recommended for those who are entering mitigation from a social work background or for defenders who are interested in understanding how to articulate these differences to judges or other funding bodies who may simply think any social worker is equipped to conduct mitigation investigation.
9:30-10:30 am False admissions and vulnerable populations Allison Redlich Our clients often come from the most vulnerable populations in society – young, minority, marginalized, and isolated. What do we know about the risk of false admissions of guilt from such vulnerable populations work? What do we need to think about whenever we have clients who might be susceptible to coercion due to their personal traits and experiences? 10:35-11:35 am Breakouts Investigating innocence Brianna Ford Defense teams often view mitigation investigation as something apart from investigating innocence. This session looks at how a mitigation investigation is actually central to investigating innocence. Common themes in innocence cases will be explored such as investigating cooperating witnesses, law enforcement, and other avenues and how understanding your client’s history and experiences is essential to unraveling how your client became ensnared in the justice system. Working with mental health experts Ed Ungvarsky and Joette James A discussion between an attorney and an expert about how the two work together – starting from initial vetting of experts through to preparing experts for drafting reports or testifying. This session covers the basics of what any defender needs to keep in mind when working with experts. 11:40-12:40 Breakouts Advanced neuropsychology Joette James For those who already have a working knowledge of neuropsychology, this session gets deeper into the science and research. International investigation 101 Chris Chang Many cases now have international components – from clients who have themselves migrated or are the first or second generation of family members who moved to the United States – this session discusses what teams need to think about in terms of records collection and on the ground investigation including thinking about visas, how to work in countries where security might be necessary, etc. It will also explore things to consider when it is necessary to get witnesses from other countries to court to testify. 12:15-12:30 Wrap up
We keep the Baltimore Mitigation Training Series free to all participants so that there are as few barriers to attendance as possible, but your support is an important part of continuing and growing this effort. Please visit our Mitigation Training Fund page to make a donation if you are able. Thanks for your support!
309 N. Charles Street, 3rd floor | Baltimore, MD 21201 | T: (410) 685-2569 | email@example.com