Death Penalty Mitigation: A Handbook for Mitigation Specialists, Investigators, Social Scientists, and Lawyers

Jose Ashford, Melissa Kupferberg

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    3 Scopus citations


    This book provides an introduction to socio-legal forms of mitigation in capital sentencing. It examines scientific formulations, concepts, and frameworks for structuring social history investigations and assessments of moral culpability. A fundamental aim of this book is to provide mitigation professionals not only with an understanding of the context of mitigation in criminal justice thinking, but also ways of contextualizing issues of blame and culpability. Cases are used to illustrate how to identify, evaluate, and present mitigation evidence in assessing issues of culpability in the mitigation of punishment in death penalty cases. It also exposes mitigation professionals to recent developments in the social sciences with implications for assessing issues of practical rationality, diminished volition, unfortunate forms of socialization, criminal propensities, socio-cultural deprivation, and gang involvement. These topics are linked with legal and philosophical conceptions of moral culpability that offer mitigation professionals new ways of thinking about both proximal and remote forms of mitigation. These socially oriented lenses, used in examining these concepts and legal issues, offer alternative ways of thinking about issues of capacity, choice, and character in assessing diminished forms of moral culpability. The book concludes with recommendations for future research and other strategies for promoting the improvement of practice in the field of capital mitigation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages252
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199367603
    ISBN (Print)9780195329469
    StatePublished - Jan 23 2014


    • Capital sentencing
    • Criminal justice thinking
    • Criminal propensities
    • Gang involvement
    • Mitigation
    • Scientific formulations
    • Socialization
    • Socio-cultural deprivation
    • Socio-legal forms

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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