Event Calendar

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Course: The Critical Examination of Client Mitigation and Our Role in Uncovering It!

Start Date: 9/27/2022 5:00 PM EDT
End Date: 11/8/2022 7:00 PM EST

Venue Name: Online through NAPD's LMS System

Organization Name: National Association for Public Defense

Jeni Benavides
Email: events@publicdefenders.us
Phone: (502) 219-6149

September 27-November 8, 2022
PRICE $390



This seven week course will have 5 meetups (meetings) on Tuesdays and two weeks without meet-ups, 5:00-7:00 pm Eastern | 4:00-6:00 pm CT | 3:00-5:00 pm MT | 2:00-4:00 pm PT

There are five live class sessions via Zoom on 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/25, 11/8

There will be two Independent Learning/No Zoom Meeting Dates: dates are tentatively Oct 18 and Nov 1, although that may change.

There will be certificates of attendance and participation offered upon request.

Course length and time expectations for participants
This course will last seven weeks meeting on Tuesdays. Each week will involve:

  • Some course videos and reading to be done at your convenience (~ 1 hour)
  • Participate in course online forum (~ 30 minutes)
  • Live instruction and small groups ( ~105 minutes) (5 meetings - see below)
Each meeting will include a large group presentation and small group discussion  
Led by Stephanne Thornton, Cessie Alfonso

Course Description:
Mitigation specialists functioning as mitigation professionals possess clinical and information-gathering skills and training that most lawyers simply do not have. They possess the time and ability to elicit sensitive, guarded, often humiliating evidence from defendants (e.g., family sexual abuse) that the defendant may never have felt comfortable disclosing. They have the clinical skills to recognize such things as congenital, mental, or neurological conditions, to understand how these conditions may have affected the defendant’s development and behavior. Mitigation specialists astutely use their skills to identify the most appropriate experts to examine the defendant or testify on their behalf or create alternative sentencing plans to serve a defendant’s underlying treatment needs. We will use a full case problem, or you can bring your own case to utilize throughout the training.

This training course will provide participants with strategic training which includes the intersectionality of and use of self in mitigation development, client-centered representation advocacy, and in-court and out out-of-of-court assessments, interdisciplinary teamwork, report writing, and the inclusion of special topics to explain a defendant’s history. etc. The capstone project at the conclusion of the course will require you to prepare a report and/or presentation.

Target Audience:  
Sentencing Advocates, Client Service Professionals, Mitigation Specialist/Experts, and attorneys who have to do solo mitigation.
The course is designed for those relatively new to the profession or looking for a refresher. 

Stephanne Thornton
Stephanne Cline Thornton is the Criminal Justice Specialist for Public Defender Services’ Public Defender Corporation Resource Center, where she assists public defenders across the state with research and mitigation. Ms. Thornton also conducts mitigation trainings and writes grants on behalf of Public Defender Corporations to further the holistic mission of indigent criminal defense. Through her grant writing efforts, Ms. Thornton was able to create recovery coach positions embedded within Public Defender Corporations to assess and link pretrial criminal defendants to substance use treatment to reduce overdose risk and recidivism. Ms. Thornton provides training and guidance to the recovery coach project and analyzes data collected from the project.

Ms. Thornton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Furman University; a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University; and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Georgia. She began work as a mitigation specialist for death penalty and aggravated felony cases in Georgia and has managed an outpatient dual diagnosis clinic in Denver, Colorado, and a felony drug court program in Athens, Georgia. 

Ms. Thornton has been clinically licensed as a social worker and addictions counselor since 2004 and currently holds a Master Addiction Counselor certificate, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, a Certified Addiction Counselor Level III, Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider, and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. Ms. Thornton is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and somatic treatment for trauma. Ms. Thornton sits on the National Association for Public Defense Steering Committee and serves on the Boards of Laotong Yoga (a nonprofit prison yoga project in West Virginia), the West Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, and the REACH Initiative. She serves as an appointee to the West Virginia State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

Cessie Alfonso
Cecilia "Cessie" Alfonso is a nationally recognized expert in forensic social work, domestic violence and organizational development in the area of cultural competence and valuing diversity. She is founder and president of Alfonso Consultants, Inc. which for the past 30 years has provided social work and psychosocial assessments to the clients of civil and criminal attorneys throughout the United States, and internationally. As a mitigation specialist, she revered as a pioneer in our field. She and her associates have conducted over 700 mitigation investigations since she began providing services. She is an activist who marched against the Vietnam War, for civil rights, women, lesbian, and gay rights. Currently she is a board member of Citizen Action of New York. She served as a founding member and first chair of National Association of Sentencing Advocates (NASAMS). In 2019. the organization created the “Cessie Alphonso” Award in her honor for the work she has pioneered in the mitigation and sentencing field.

Cancellation Policy 

NAPD doesn't apply for CLE or track attendance to provide certifications for our live webinars, conferences and online courses. This helps us keep the price as low as possible and avoids the disruption of the flow of the training required by many states to verify attendance.
We are able to provide CLE for dozens of recorded sessions from previous training for NAPD members in most states.   These sessions are only $10 per credit hour.   For more details, log in with your NAPD credentials at this link.                       

Online Registration

Registration is Closed
Closed: 9/22/2022 12:00 PM

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