FAQs

What services does your agency provide?

See “Services

How does your agency differ from other agencies?

Mitigation is our passion.  Nothing gets us more motivated than spending time with a defendant and doing our best to help our attorney clients successfully obtain a lesser sentence. Our expertise comes from our combined 50 years of experience working in criminal defense, mental health, addiction therapy, and juvenile justice.  We use a team approach rather than a lone investigator who works a multitude of cases, including yours. Our experience and our team allow us to conduct thorough and professional investigations into matters that are sensitive and confidential in nature. We can assign the right investigator to interview your defendant’s family, another to collect records, and yet another to interview employers and character witnesses. We also have a dedicated project manager that juggles the details with precision and efficiency. We don’t know of another agency that can deploy a myriad of investigators, all assigned to get your case completed quickly.

Who are your clients?

We work with private attorneys whose clientele is known – local celebrities, athletes, tech executives, actors, musicians, and the like. We are dedicated to absolute confidentiality.

What experience do you have with handling volumes of records?

We have had numerous cases where case records top 30,000 pages. Our Project Manager scans and categorizes records for easy retrieval while assigning records for follow up to one of our investigators. During this process, any potential mitigating evidence is noted. Investigators use the information during collateral interviews and begin building their evidence files that lead to obtaining experts in those areas of mitigation evidence.

What are the elements of a criminal defense mitigation investigation?

  • We spend a considerable amount of time with the defendant. After getting to know him/her, we approach any potential mitigating evidence in a compassionate and sympathetic manner.
  • We obtain and analyze over 24 types of records, including psychological, addiction, therapy, treatment, medical, education, military service, social services, audio and visual recordings, psychiatric, incarceration, and more.
  • We identify and interview collateral witnesses, including family, co-workers, teachers, clergy, friends, neighbors, social contacts, and others who may be able to supply corroboration of trauma, intellectual impairments, injuries, abuse, addiction, and other mitigating evidence.
  • We identify and can obtain experts specifically qualified to evaluate your client and provide additional insight into their motivation and behavior.
  • We provide critical forensic documentary evidence reports with support documentation for mitigation arguments.
  • We create a dynamic sentencing memorandum designed to impart empathy and provide a holistic view of the defendant emphasizing good works and positive behavior.
  • We testify as necessary to bring forth the client’s story in court.

How are collateral interviews conducted?

We prefer to conduct witness interviews in person. However, COVID-19 has impacted so many that we now offer socially distanced, masked in-person interviews, Zoom or other teleconferencing interviews, and as a last resort, telephone interviews. Any teleconferencing interviews are cleared by our attorney clients first to avoid confidentiality issues.

How do you approach reluctant or resistant witnesses?

We realize that resistance is going to happen and we are prepared for it. We take a very soft approach with those that may be hesitant or even aggressive. We ask permission, we find common ground, and we move at a pace that is comfortable for the witness. We excel at building rapport quickly and know exactly when to ask the important questions.

What can I expect if I hire your company?

Downward Departure Specialists strives to exceed your expectations. We are a highly competent and diligent advocate for your client and your firm. We work independently and side-by-side with you to prepare a sentencing memorandum designed to achieve a lesser sentence. We value your reputation in the criminal justice world as much as we value our own.

How much do you charge?

Cost varies depending on the case. Some of our clients prefer partial mitigation; others are more comfortable having us perform the investigation from A to Z. We offer both hourly rate contracts and flat-rate packages. Our flat-rate packages include everything except out of state travel. You pay one rate for a full mitigation investigation.

What is the best way to contact you?

Our office hours are 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM PT Monday through Friday. We are readily available after hours and on weekends when needed. Our cell numbers are provided to our attorney clients for 24-hour access to the lead investigator on your case. Please contact us at (916) 224-4680 or e-mail us for a free initial phone consultation. See “Contact Us” for our fax number and our mailing address.