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TELL THE CLIENT'S STORY: MITIGATION IN CRIMINAL AND DEATH PENALTY CASES Edited by Edward Monahan and James Clark 2017, 416pp., ISBN 978-1-63425-914-9

According to the editors of this well-written book, the number of death sentences imposed by courts in the United States continues to drop, from 315 in 1996 to 30 in 2016. There are three interrelated reasons for such a steep decline. First, the focus on mitigating circumstances of the life and background of clients such as childhoods, family histories, mental health, and other aspects that individualizes the defendants. Second, defense attorneys have begun to utilize plea bargaining strategies and techniques that yield results. It is estimated that half of the people who have been executed in the last 40 years had the opportunity to accept a plea offer and receive a lesser sentence. Defense counsel is doing whatever is required to make sure the refusal to accept a life sentence stops. Finally, the jury selection skills have increased, especially as the Colorado Method of jury selection has been proven to work. The authorspractitioners of this book focus on mitigation because there is usually no issue about guilt in many capital cases. Most of the authors are capital practitioners who offer decades worth of experience. Other authors are experts and researchers who offer current findings in the field of capital punishment. Mitigating is not offering an excuse or justification for the crime, but instead placing the crime in the context of a whole life. This book offer specific steps and strategies that lawyers and others can use in the course of their work.