Our Team

We use a team approach to collect and analyze records, perform collateral interviews, build rapport with your defendant and his/her family, collect character letters and create a mitigation memorandum that has been designed to bring your client’s story alive. We take the records collection, interviewing, expert vetting, and time-consuming interviews with your client off your plate. Our team completes full mitigation investigations quickly, enabling you to spend your time working on case strategy and direction.
Anna Marie Stowe, CPI

Anna Marie Stowe, CPI

CEO / Chief Investigator / Criminal Defense Mitigation Specialist


Anna is a Certified Professional Investigator (CPI) through the California Association of Licensed Investigators.

Anna is the CEO of Downward Departure Specialists. She uses all her expertise, knowledge, and passion for helping her attorney clients build their case for lesser or alternative sentences. Her team of investigators is carefully and thoughtfully chosen to provide the right combination of work ethic, sensitivity, and experience. She values her team and creates a work environment that always puts her clients first and is open to continuous learning. Anna has first-rate training and access to the best experts to serve your cases.

Anna has hundreds of continuing education hours in investigation-related subjects, including trauma-informed interviewing, background investigations, mining the dark web, and open-source intelligence. Anna earned her certificate as a Mitigation Specialist through the National Legal Aid Defense Association and the National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists.

Anna grew up in the Sacramento Region of California. In 1986 Anna was hired by PG&E. For the next 15 years, Anna performed workplace investigations of sexual harassment, employee theft, due diligence, and conducted background investigations on new hires, including board members, while working within Human Resources as a Consultant. An interest in Restorative Justice inspired her to earn her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and before graduating, Anna left PG&E and founded Anna Stowe Investigations in 2000.  She spent her first five years working on indigent criminal defense investigations, including death penalty qualified cases. Anna has conducted hundreds of criminal defense investigations with attorneys from all over California, the nation, and internationally. Considered an expert in Hispanic gangs, Anna spent 20 years working with immigrant and migrant families in Yolo County, California. She also worked with and volunteered her time with emotionally disturbed and mentally ill juveniles in Nevada County.

Anna is currently serving as the District Director for the California Association of Licensed Investigators Sacramento District, where she actively mentors new investigators and has formed a Female Investigators Network.

Anna has worked with California Public Defender offices in providing mitigation resources when the counties are unable to provide such specialized services. She is also creating a mitigation curriculum for Public Defenders to balance the scale between private representation and public and address racial and gender disparity in sentencing.

Anna enjoys a life focused on compassion and hope. In her spare time, Anna regularly works with various animal rescue organizations and loves to spend time with her family, including her five grandchildren. See CV

Ashley Torbohn, CPI

Ashley Torbohn, CPI

Operations Manager / Criminal Defense Mitigation Specialist


Ashley is a Certified Professional Investigator (CPI) through the California Association of Licensed Investigators.

Ashley comes to Downward Departure Specialists with a wealth of law office administration and experience. She grew up in California and graduated from the California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a strong desire to seek out the truth in every situation. Ashley has proudly assisted in managing the growth of a rapidly expanding law firm in Sacramento and has over eight years’ experience managing a wide range of cases for that firm. Her managerial experience, attention to detail, and organized processing of each case helps to ensure an unmatched thoroughness. Ashley has a genuine love of people and human behavior, and she is the best open-source intelligence researcher Downward Departure Specialists has ever had the pleasure of working with. She serves as the perfect addition to Downward Departure Specialists well-reputed team of mitigation specialists.

Ashley enjoys walking to her favorite shops and restaurants in her small town, and in her free time, she enjoys downtime in a cabin in Truckee, hiking, and spending time with her two pups, Ryder and Ravyn.

Donald Blodger

Donald Blodger

Senior Investigator / Criminal Defense Mitigation Specialist


Don is originally from California. He has over 35 years of combined experience in interviewing, mitigation, criminal defense work, suicide prevention, and crisis intervention.

Don earned a Bachelor of Art in Community Psychology and a Master of Art in Organizational Behavior from Pepperdine University. As a Dean in the University of California system, Don interviewed thousands of candidates in the United States and abroad. Through the many years of international travel with the University of California, Don gained a unique perspective and ability in working with those from different cultures. He spent his early post-college years as an addiction counselor working with people from all walks of life struggling with addiction. Don is exceptional at building rapport with a wide variety of clients, including those who suffer from mental illness and substance addiction.

Don uses his many years of expertise, knowledge, and rapport building skills to help Downward Departure Specialists conduct effective investigations with people from all walks of life and cultures.

Don and his wife love to travel, spend time with their grandchildren, and volunteer to mentor couples experiencing a marital crisis. Don is also a professional photographer and has published numerous travel articles, and has sold his prints worldwide.

Christine Vicars

Christine Vicars

Senior Consultant


Christie was born in California. She has over 15 years of experience in diverse private investigative work and is one of the youngest females to obtain a California PI license. Christie has expertise in childhood mental illness, adoption issues, and PTSD related to childhood trauma and sexual abuse. She works easily with juvenile and young adult clients and their families and is a strong advocate for juveniles in the foster care and justice systems. Her unique insight and empathy for her clients allows her to develop a 365-degree view of the client, the family, and the community. Christine applies her extensive background and expertise in criminal defense investigations and mitigation to help the Downward Departure Specialists team have what they need for their attorney clients to prevail. 

Christie is also a professional photographer and specializes in family portraiture and stylized birthday shoots. She also enjoys being a Mom who participates in her children’s school and extracurricular activities. 

Chalin Stowe

Chalin Stowe

Records Technician


Chalin is from California. She brings her wealth of electronic records to the Downward Departure Specialists team. Chalin started her career in the medical field, where accurate record-keeping and confidentiality are required. She quickly earned her co-workers and supervisors’ confidence and rose through the ranks to a supervisory role. At Downward Departure Specialists, Chalin receives, scans, organizes, and provides follow-up on all records requests. She carefully scrutinizes every single page to ensure we have received the entire record. She acts as a liaison for all incoming records to our office and uses project management software to track each case’s records collection progress. Chalin is a fantastic team player, is highly skilled in communication and our outside vendors enjoy interacting with her. Chalin is integral to the Downward Departure Specialists team and provides excellent service to our investigators.

 Chalin enjoys interior decorating, traveling, and her menagerie of goats, ducks, chickens, dogs, and farm cats. She and her fiancé just moved into the home they built together, which shines with Chalin’s eye for detail and creativity.