Redemptive Language

In capital case mitigations, carefully determined language choices are emphasized because words can be the only thing to remind a jury that your client is human, has remorse, and can change for the better despite committing a horrific crime. Word choices can help mitigate the effect of the harm caused to the victims while reminding […] Continue reading

Latest Mitigation Newsletter Available Now

The latest e-Mitigation Newsletter is available now and discusses pretrial detention, unaffordable bail amounts, and efforts at reform. The newsletter, “The High Cost of Pretrial Detention and How It Affects Indigent Defense,” examines the cost and consequences of pretrial detention as well as efforts to address unnecessary pretrial detention for West Virginia’s inmates. Recent legislative measures and suggestions for data […] Continue reading

WV Overdose Fatalities: Numbers are the Tool for Alternative Sentencing

West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health conducted a fatality review (2016 West Virginia Overdose Fatality Analysis) into all overdose deaths from 2016. Acknowledging that West Virginia has the most overdose deaths per capita, this evaluation and analysis was intended to better understand the gaps in service, missed opportunities, and […] Continue reading

Substance Use Disorder and a Defendant’s Ability to Prevent Relapse

In 2016, then-Surgeon General Vivek Murthy produced “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” The extensive report addresses many aspects of addiction and concludes, among other things, that addiction is a brain disease with relapse rates similar to other health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes (all ranging between […] Continue reading

Extreme Emotions and the Brain

The brain is one of the last frontiers of human understanding. The brain’s complexity and our limitations in learning about that complexity have delayed our understanding of the brain. For example, we used to believe that brain development was complete by a person’s early- to mid-twenties. Now we recognize that parts of the brain continue […] Continue reading