Journal Entry: Monday, April 29, 2024

Journal Entry

Mitigation Strategy

Using Mitigation Strategies in Federal Sentencing

Navigating the complexities of the federal court system requires not only a solid legal defense but also a comprehensive mitigation strategy. No one can change the past, but we all can work to sow seeds for a better future. It’s my hope that people facing a sentencing hearing understand that it’s never too early, and never too late to start sowing seeds for a better outcome.

I did not understand that concept of a mitigation strategy at the start of my journey through federal prison. I’m Michael Santos. After authorities arrested me, I only thought about getting out. But every person wants to get out. It would have been far wiser to think about how I could prepare myself in ways that would lead to an earlier release date.

I didn’t learn those lessons until after my judge slammed with a sentence that would require me to serve 26 years in federal prison.

Don’t make that mistake. Learn everything you’re able about engineering effective mitigation strategies.

What is a Mitigation Strategy?

A mitigation strategy in the context of federal sentencing is a plan designed to make a person a better candidate for leniency at sentencing and beyond. Like any other difficult task, it requires a plan. A person must learn to prioritize activities. Then, the person should develop tools, tactics, and resources that will accelerate the plan, and increase probabilities for success. The plan should portray the defendant in a more favorable light, thereby influencing the judge’s decision towards a lesser sentence.

Components of an Effective Mitigation Strategy

  • Identify Victims: Your mitigation strategy should begin with a clear understanding that a crime results in victims. The mitigation strategy should attempt to make amends, or reconcile with victims of the crime. In the judge’s eyes, there are victims of every crime.
  • Character and Background: This involves presenting detailed information about your personal history, family, education, employment, and any challenges you’ve faced. The goal is to humanize you in the eyes of the court.
  • Remorse and Responsibility: Demonstrating genuine remorse for your actions and acknowledging their impact is crucial. This can include statements of empathy towards any victims and an expression of understanding of the harm caused.
  • Rehabilitation Efforts: Evidence of rehabilitation efforts, such as undergoing therapy, addiction treatment, or educational courses, can significantly impact your sentencing. It shows the court your commitment to change.
  • Community Ties and Support: Highlighting your relationships and contributions to the community can demonstrate your potential for a positive role in society post-sentencing.
  • Release Plans: Outlining a clear plan for your future, including career goals, education, and community involvement, shows the court that you have a vision for a productive and lawful life.

Developing a Mitigation Strategy

  • Early Planning: Begin developing your mitigation strategy as early as possible, ideally from the moment you enter the legal system.
  • Gathering Documentation: Compile documents and evidence that support your mitigation strategy, including character reference letters, certificates from rehabilitation programs, and employment records.
  • Working with Legal Counsel: Collaborate closely with your attorney to integrate your mitigation strategy into your overall legal defense. An experienced lawyer can guide you on the most effective ways to present your case.
  • Personal Involvement: While your attorney will lead the legal aspects, your personal involvement in developing the mitigation strategy is vital. Be proactive in gathering materials and sharing your story.


Understanding and implementing a mitigation strategy is an essential aspect of navigating the federal court system. It offers an opportunity to present a more complete picture of who you are beyond the offense and to potentially influence a more favorable sentencing outcome. Through thoughtful preparation and strategic presentation, a well-crafted mitigation strategy can make a significant difference in your federal court journey.