Sentencing Advocacy & Mitigation
Approximately 90 percent of criminal cases are disposed of without a trial. If you ultimately decide pleading guilty is your best option, this is not the end of your case. In many ways, it is only the beginning. Missouri has established non-binding sentencing guidelines in felony cases to assist judges in determining a proper sentence. These guidelines make recommendations based on various mitigating and aggravating factors. The more mitigating factors which are present, the greater the likelihood you will receive a reduced sentence or probation. Because the sentence you receive is determined by mitigating and aggravating factors, it is extremely important that you are represented by an attorney who knows what mitigating factors the judge will consider. I know what mitigating factors a judge looks for when deciding what sentence should be imposed.
The purpose of sentencing advocacy is to discover and document those mitigating factors in the client's life in order to minimize the consequences the client will face should he or she be found guilty. I provide a variety of sentencing advocacy and mitigation services for my own clients as well as for other attorneys. The criminal justice system is filled with people suffering from both substance abuse and emotional issues. Studies indicate that both are present at the same time in over 50 percent of criminal prosecutions. Furthermore, trauma fuels substance abuse and emotional issues. Treatment must respond to both issues or neither is being treated effectively. Receiving substance abuse or mental health treatment is a strong mitigating factor at sentencing. I maintain a network of referral sources who can provide my clients with the treatment and services they need.
Every person is unique, special, one-of-a kind. Every life is a story, waiting to be told. My undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and my 30 years of experience in criminal justice give me the skill and experience to help people explain why their lives are in crisis without making excuses for bad choices. I encourage them to find their purpose in life and help them find the support they need to consistently make better choices. I help clients write their stories and right their lives.
For more information on Sentencing Mitigation and Evidence-Based Sentencing, go to our companion website.