Collateral interviews should be performed only after a careful review of all records for the defendant. When Downward Departure Specialists conduct interviews, we leave no rock unturned. We interview family members, friends, teachers, ex-spouses, clergy, coaches, mentors, employers, neighbors, and everyone else to shed light on the defendant’s life.

We understand how developing a trusting rapport with family is of great importance as they are often the best source of information from the childhood years. We do everything possible to create this trusting rapport. However, interviewing family members can be complicated. Family, of course, wants to share the very good things about the client, achievements, and talents. But, a good mitigation investigator needs to obtain more than the good. We need disabilities, family culture information, the preferred form of discipline, belief systems, domestic violence, injuries, prenatal health, information on Mom’s delivery of the client at birth, family dynamics, birth order, family tree including health and mental health. Our investigations don’t just scratch the surface. We go deep into the client’s family, social, biological, and emotional histories.

Cultivating the relationship between our investigators and the family members takes time and expertise. Our investigators excel at building rapport with people. We know exactly how to approach a reluctant witness and how to elicit information from that witness that will help you build your case. We do whatever it takes, such as making many phone calls, conducting many in-person interviews, and, frequently, drinking a lot of coffee. We know the importance of these interviews. Not only could the witness reveal other essential witnesses, but also other new avenues of information. These in-depth interviews provide the quotations that will help frame your client’s story in the mitigation memorandum we prepare for court.

As your client’s life begins to unfold through collateral witnesses, we take that information and build a timeline of your client’s experiences. We recently had a client whose grandmother had her first child at 12, never attended school, and worked to help support her family. The client’s mother also never learned to read and write despite attending school. These two women were the primary caregivers to this client. Their experiences, and lack of experiences, impacted the client’s formative years. These were proud people who had worked hard to provide for their families. I didn’t know the mother couldn’t read until I took her to a restaurant and she asked me to read the specials to her.

This work needs to be performed by experts. The specialists at Downward Departure always engage with collateral witnesses to put them at ease and allow for the free flow of information. We make sure our witnesses know our role and their role in creating mitigation that builds your case for a downward departure.

When you need a mitigation specialist with the expertise in conducting collateral interviews to obtain the best results for your clients, call Downward Departure Specialists at 916-224-4680.