Aggravating and Mitigating Circumstances, Evaluation of in Capital Cases

If a defendant is found guilty of a capital crime, the triers of fact are called on to weigh the significance of the aggravating and mitigating factors of the case and to use such judgments to decide whether the defendant will receive the death penalty or a life sentence. During the sentencing phase, the prosecution presents the relevant aggravating factors of the case, while the defense is charged with the duty of providing mitigation factors. Although no standard model exists to offer procedures for the investigation of mitigating factors, scholars, clinicians, and researchers have offered recommendations concerning the common types of information needed and the appropriate ways to present it to the jury. In all cases, a mitigation evaluation is conducted with the goal ...

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