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The presentence investigation report is often a report generated by probation about aspects of our client’s life, but it does not tell the story of the client in the same way mitigation does. How can we use mitigation to challenge the presentence investigation report (whether through our work or representation by the attorney of our work)? How can we ensure mitigation exists and the client’s story is told when a presentence investigation report tells a different story? How can we get creative when a document by probation or the state is telling a rote or one-sided story of our client (including presenting information that is untrue)? These questions will be discussed and explored during this meetup, so bring information from your jurisdiction about presentence investigation reports, how your office handles them, and what you would like to know to creatively introduce mitigation!

Stephanne Cline Thornton is a West Virginia native who has worked in and around criminal defense and mitigation for more than 20 years in Georgia, Colorado, and West Virginia. She is currently the Clinical Director for the West Virginia Judicial and Lawyer Assistance Program, and owner of Transform Legal, a consultancy focused on mitigation, training, and sustainability. As a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Master Addiction Counselor, Stephanne focuses on proper assessment for and access to trauma and substance use disorder treatment to ensure the health and well-being of affected individuals. Stephanne is on the Trauma-Informed Care Network Speakers Bureau and uses that platform to call attention to the intersection of secondary traumatic stress and legal practice. She approaches her work with clients, lawyers, social workers, and mitigation specialists through a contextualized mitigation lens.