Private investigator and mitigation specialist Alexandra Becnel presented a training via Zoom to the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office (SADO) in Detroit, Michigan.
The attorneys, investigators, and mitigation specialists at SADO work tirelessly on behalf of people sentenced as juveniles to die in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana, held that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. In the aftermath of these decisions, state courts are now re-examining each of these sentences. Many new sentencing hearings are happening decades after the original sentencing, which means there is decades of mitigation to be investigated and presented to the court in support of a lesser sentence or parole.
Alexandra spoke to the attorneys, investigators, social workers, and mitigation specialists about uncovering and utilizing mental health in telling their clients’ stories. She encouraged the audience to confront personal and systemic biases to create an honest, persuasive mitigation narrative on behalf of clients.