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Mitigating Factors Psychological Evaluations

Mitigating Factors Psychological Evaluations

Forensic Psychologist - Forensic Psychology EvaluationsDr. Steven Gaskell at Psycholegal Assessments, Inc. offers psychological assessment of mitigating factors prior to a defendant entering a plea or prior to sentencing.  Call us today at 630-780-1085 or 404-504-7039 for a Free Consultation and more information about any of our Forensic Psychological Evaluations.

Even in situations where the defendant’s mental disorder does not meet the criteria for a not guilty by reason of insanity defense, the defendant’s state of mind at the time, as well as relevant past history of mental disorder and psychological abuse can be used to attempt a mitigation of sentence.  Dr. Steven Gaskell’s evaluation and report is an important element in presenting evidence for sentence mitigation.  A mitigating factors psychological evaluation can be quite helpful  in plea negotiation and assists the defense attorney and the court to be able to understand factors that affected the defendant’s judgment, perception, or intent in committing the offense.  The evaluation will often include some form of a risk assessment and may have treatment recommendations of how treatment and what type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Dr. Steven Gaskell – Forensic Psychologist – Psychological Mitigating Factors – Expert Witness

Dr. Steven Gaskell – Forensic Psychologist – Psychological Mitigating Factors – Expert Witness

In Mitigating Factors at Sentencing cases, a defense attorney will ask for an assessment of his or her client’s personal history and determine whether or not congenital, intellectual, educational, socioeconomic, or developmental injuries or deprivations have predisposed the defendant to commit a crime or could reduce their culpability.  These findings may then be offered to the court in an effort to reduce the severity of the sentence imposed on the defendant.  “Mitigating factors” refer to information about a defendant or the circumstances of a crime that might tend to lessen the sentence or the crime with which the person is charged.  “Aggravating factors”, refer to information about the defendant of the crime that may make the crime worse than similar crimes.  Although such evaluations are typically conducted at the request of the defense, prosecutors may also obtain their own evaluator in order to gain an independent assessment or to challenge the findings of the defense expert.

Although each case is unique and may require additional testing or evaluation, most evaluations may include the following:

  • Review of official records related to the specific offense (e.g., police records, witness statements)
  • Review of background records and history (e.g., academic records, psychiatric/ psychological treatment records)
  • Relevant background information
  • Clinical interview of defendant
  • Collateral interviews, as necessary
  • Psychological testing
  • Psychological evaluation of malingering
  • Assessment of defendant’s state of mind close in time, leading up to, and during the offense based on interview with defendant and collateral information
  • Diagnostic impressions
  • Future risk assessment
  • Summary of relevant mitigating and/or aggravating factors
  • Recommendations

Relevant Landmark Cases

In Hamblin v. Mitchell, 335 F.3d 482 (6th Cir. 2003), the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a lower court because counsel did not thoroughly investigate the defendant’s mental history in preparation for the sentencing phase of the trial.  Specifically, the court stated that such investigation should include members of the defendant’s immediate and extended family, medical history, and family and social history (including physical and mental abuse, domestic violence, exposure to traumatic events and criminal violence).  This issue was further addressed in Wiggins v. Smith and in Bigby v. Dretke.

Office Locations

Illinois – Chicago Area Office – Naperville, Illinois

Psycholegal Assessments, Inc.
2135 City Gate Lane, Suite 300
Naperville, Illinois 60563

Office Phone: 630-780-1085
Cell Phone : 630-903-9193
Email :

Georgia – Atlanta – Buckhead Office

Psycholegal Assessments, Inc.
3355 Lenox Road, Suite 750
Atlanta, GA 30326

Office Phone: 404-504-7039
Cell Phone : 630-903-9193
Email :

Schedule appointments now, travel fees to and from Georgia are waived until further notice. Contact Us Now