How I Assist Attorneys
As a Forensic Social Worker, I am experienced in conducting effective clinical investigations, followed by the writing of distinctive, high quality Pre-Sentencing and Pre-Pleading reports as mitigation for misdemeanor and felony cases. I also provide oral advocacy at Court and affidavits in support of Clayton Motions (for dismissal in the interest of justice).
The primary goal of a successful Pre-Sentencing or Pre-Pleading report is to present the Judge and/or District Attorney with persuasive mitigating information, in order to gain a more favorable - and often, more humane - disposition for the client.
I frequently discover that a history of substance abuse, un-diagnosed mental illness, trauma, sexual abuse, physical abuse, learning disabilities, or unhealthy living environments may provide some explanation of the behaviors that led to the client's legal difficulties.
These factors allow me to present a compelling narrative that evokes a credible and sympathetic understanding of a human being; and argues that the client is more than just the sum of his/her alleged or admitted criminal behavior.
Successful outcomes may include: a more reasonable plea offer; an alternative to incarceration i.e.: substance abuse or mental health treatment program; greater sentencing leniency; or even a dismissal in the interest of justice.
The skills and services that I utilize for oral arguments or written reports for the Court include, but are not limited to:
- Biopsychosocial assessments of the client (whether incarcerated or out)
- Interviews with collateral individuals (family, friends, co-workers, clergy)
- Collection and analysis of mental health, medical, and other life history records
- Program referrals, admission facilitation and compliance monitoring
- Educating attorneys re: clinical issues or communication difficulties with clients
- Ongoing counseling for clients and family members
My experience allows me to work productively with clients – irrespective of whether they are compliant or particularly difficult. Attorneys will also find me to be personable and easy to work with.