Welcome to Lower Criminal Sentences


[James Boyle, MSW; (o) 207-626-2911 (c) 917-371-5691; jmboyle@gwi.net]


Mitigation specialist is “INDISPENSABLE” says the American Bar Association

“We hit a homerun on this case,” said NY Southern District CJA attorney Larry Sheehan about a December 2012 case.  The Assistant US Attorney and probation report recommended 60 months but in petitioning for a departure from the statutory minimum the mitigation report helped to earn time-served (13 months) and a residential drug treatment program for a 55 year old woman who had pled to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.   (larrysheehan@verizon.net)

James Boyle is an experienced mitigation professional who can provide your clients a full measure of justice in the plea-bargaining and the pre-sentencing process with mitigation narratives polished by 44 years in social work, graduate studies in logic and rhetoric and lessons in persuasive stories garnered from writing two novels.  Neutralize the bias created by the "system's parable" through a compelling narrative on the personal history and character of the defendant. Tell the Judge and ADA who your client is and who your client can become.  Tell the client’s personal story through a mitigation report. 

  • Many reports lead to probation; most earn at least lower sentences.
  • Pragmatic, thoroughly researched, fact-based reports.
  • Plain language and clear arguments; no jargon.
  • Final report controlled by attorney; trial option protected.
  • Exceptional writer; author of two novels and non-fiction articles.
  • Psychiatrists, psychologists, sex abuse experts, neurologists as collaborators. 

Probation Restored after a Second Sex Offense Led to Violation of Probation - despite judicial threats of 10 years in prison the mitigation report won a release from 5 months in jail and a sentence of probation and residential substance abuse treatment in this Jan. 2013 case.  A Bronx NY jurist known for harsh sentences described the mitigation report as honest and thorough.  She admired the frank summary of criminal convictions and new charges and accepted the argument that 27 months of law-abiding sobriety deserved a second chance.  (See redacted report on website; contact attorney Steve Goldman at criminallawyers@optonline.net.) 

Extensive Experience in Mitigation and Legal Social Work 

  • 500 mitigation reports for 60 defense attorneys in NY City and Maine State and Federal Courts; over 80% helped attorneys to win downward departures (referrals from other states accepted);
  • Persuasive story skills honed as the author of 2 novels;
  • 1500 court cases as the Director of Social Work and Client Advocacy at a public defender law firm, in projects for juvenile offenders and in private practice;
  • Alternatives to Incarceration – placed defendants in alcohol and drug treatment programs; consulted to 6 drug (and 1 sex offender) clinics; mental health placements;   
  • Began social work career in 1971; Masters in Social Work from NY’s Stony Brook University; graduate studies in rhetoric and persuasive reasoning;
  • Private clients accepted; also MCILS, 18b and CJA cases.

The American Bar Association Cites the Critical Role of the Mitigation Specialist 

Commentary: The Core Defense Team: (B) The Mitigation Specialist states, “Mitigation specialists possess clinical and information-gathering skills and training that most lawyers simply do not have. They have the time and ability to elicit sensitive, embarrassing and often humiliating evidence (e.g., family sexual abuse) that the defendant may never have disclosed. They have the clinical skills to recognize such things as congenital, mental or neurological conditions [and] to understand how these conditions may have affected the defendant’s development and behavior. 

The mitigation specialist compiles a comprehensive and well-documented psycho-social history of the client based on an exhaustive investigation; analyzes the significance of the information in terms of impact on development, including effect on personality and behavior; finds mitigating themes in the client’s life history; identifies the need for expert assistance; assists in locating appropriate experts; provides social history information to experts to enable them to conduct competent and reliable evaluations; and works with the defense and experts to develop a comprehensive and cohesive case in mitigation. 

The mitigation specialist often plays an important role as well in maintaining close contact with the client and his/her family while the case is pending. The rapport developed in this process can be the key to persuading a client to accept a plea to a sentence.  For all of these reasons the use of mitigation specialists has become “part of the existing ‘standard of care’” in capital cases (and should be standard in other serious cases, ed. note), ensuring “high quality investigation and preparation of the penalty phase.” [Although the ABA’s revised guidelines of 2003 focused on capital cases, the facts and principles cited apply in all criminal cases.]