Friday, June 3, 2011

A cool job I have never heard of before

I recently met someone who has a cool job I'd never heard of before: he's a Mitigation Specialist. As he explained it, his job is to take detailed life history of a criminal in preparation for a criminal proceeding -- specifically which I didn't remember, so I Googled it. As it turns out, it's for capital cases; mitigation specialists come into play during the penalty phase of a capital trial.

One famous - or infamous - example where the role of mitigation specialist was critical was in the trial of  Zacarias Moussaoui.

The mitigation specialist is an investigator and historian rolled into one: he/she digs deep to uncover all the details, however unpleasant or disturbing, in the person's life that will be presented as mitigating evidence.

Whether or not one agrees with the idea, it's the law in the United States of America:
US Code Title 18 / Part II / Chapter 228 / § 3592
§ 3592. Mitigating and aggravating factors to be considered in determining whether a sentence of death is justified
(a) Mitigating Factors.— In determining whether a sentence of death is to be imposed on a defendant, the finder of fact shall consider any mitigating factor [...]*
I can only imagine how intense a job this must be, and I thoroughly appreciate the folks who do this for a living (thus my attributing the job as "cool"). But no, I am not contemplating a career change.
*brackets mine