Developing and Leading Effective Sentencing Mitigation Teams in Serious Criminal Cases and Capital Cases

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: October 10, 2017
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  • Methodology
  • Purpose of the mitigation team
  • Telling the client's story
  • Google's Project Aristotle background and findings
  • Mitigation team satisfaction and challenges
  • 8 tips for leaders to enact for positive team outcomes
  • Productive interprofessional dialogue
  • Special challenges
  • Use of case review process to enhance team outcomes
Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Recorded: October 10, 2017


Successful sentencing outcomes in cases are almost always a result of an interdisciplinary team effort; very rarely are they attributable to superstar performances. It is also rare that a defense team just happens, by chance, to be an effective team. Effective teams are intentionally assembled, deliberately developed, wisely led and constantly managed. This webinar discusses the central duties and tasks of team development and management. It examines the role of leadership, best practices, problems to be avoided, and the value of case reviews as a "team within the team" that exposes the defense counsel to new perspectives and approaches.

The seminar will provide legal and mental health participants with the knowledge and strategies to develop, lead and be a member of effective mitigation teams for clients facing a significant sentence including a death sentence.

This program was recorded on October 10th, 2017.

Provided By

American Bar Association


James J. Clarke

Professor & Dean
Florida State University

Dr. James J. Clark, LCSW is Dean of the Florida State University College of Social Work. From 2012-2015 he served as the Director of the School of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati, and served on the faculty of the University of Kentucky from 1991-2012. During his time at UK, he co-founded the Center on Trauma & Children. He has published in the areas of forensic mental health, child traumatic stress, criminal justice, ethics and accountability, and psychobiography and the study of lives. He is a clinician, educator, and researcher.

He graduated from Siena College (BA 1980), the University of Kentucky College of Social Work (MSW 1983) and the University of Chicago (PhD 1997). Dr. Clark is an affiliate of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Ed Monahan

Criminal Defense Consultant and Trainer

Edward C. Monahan began as a KY public defender in 1976. He was appointed Kentucky Public Advocate by the Governor September 1, 2008 to a four-year term and reappointed to a second four year term September 2012. He led the development of Kentucky's nationally recognized legal education program.

Ed is a charter board member of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and is past president of KACDL and chair of the KACDL Education Committee, past chair of the Kentucky Bar Association's Criminal Law Section, was a member of the KBA Ethics Committee (2000-2007; 2008-2011). He is past chair of the American Council of Chief Defenders and chaired its Leadership and Development Committee. Monahan is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and co-chairs its Subcommittee on Pretrial Release Advocacy. He was co-counsel in Gall v. Parker, 231 F.3d 265 (6th Cir. 2000) and Kordenbrock v. Scroggy, 919 F.2d 1091 (6th Cir. 1990) (en banc) both granting federal habeas relief to clients sentenced to death.

Monahan was counsel in Binion v. Commonwealth, 891 S.W.2d 383 (Ky. 1995) which recognized the constitutional requirement for defense experts. His publications include Coping with Excessive Workload, co-authored with James J. Clark, Ph.D., in ABA Ethical Problems Facing the Criminal Defense Lawyer: Practical Answers to Tough Questions (1995). On September 16, 2013 the National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies' John C. Hendricks Pioneer Award was presented to the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for the statewide public defender program's strategic commitment to advance public defender advocacy across Kentucky resulting in an increase of release for indigents prior to trial.

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