1989 Guideline 11.8.6

GUIDELINE 11.8.6 – THE DEFENSE CASE AT THE SENTENCING PHASE

A. Counsel should present to the sentencing entity or entities all reasonably available evidence in mitigation unless there are strong strategic reasons to forego some portion of such evidence.

B. Among the topics counsel should consider presenting are;

1. Medical history (including mental and physical illness or injury, alcohol and drug use, birth trauma and developmental delays);
2. Educational history (including achievement, performance and behavior, special educational needs including cognitive limitations and learning disabilities) and opportunity or lack thereof;
3. Military service, (including length and type of service, conduct, and special training);
4. Employment and training history (including skills and performance, and barriers to employability);
5. Family, and social history (including physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neighborhood surroundings and peer influence); and other cultural or religion influence, professional intervention (by medical personnel, social workers, law enforcement personnel, clergy or others) or lack thereof; prior correctional experience (including conduct on supervision and in institutions, education or training, and clinical services);
6. Rehabilitative potential of the client.
7. Record of prior offenses (adult and juvenile), especially where there is no record, a short record, or a record of non-violent offenses.
8. Expert testimony concerning any of the above and the resulting impact on the client, relating to the offense and to the client's potential at the time of sentencing.

C. Counsel should consider all potential methods for offering mitigating evidence to the sentencing entity or entities, including witnesses, affidavits, reports (including, if appropriate, a defense presentence report which could include challenges to inaccurate, misleading or incomplete information contained in the official presentence report and/or offered by the prosecution, as well as information favorable to the client), letters and public records.

D. Counsel may consider having the client testify or speak during the closing argument of the sentencing phase.

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