Legal Aid Society

Projects, Units & Initiatives

The Video Mitigation Project

The Video Mitigation Project (VMP) is among the first of its kind: a public defense project exploring our clients’ lives through video to convey their character, aspirations, traumas, difficulties, and often, transformation. More effective than traditional written requests, video mitigation has extraordinary potential for low-income clients.

Our Impact

Since September 2019, VMP has submitted 22 mitigation videos. Of the cases decided, our work yielded reduced sentences, alternatives to incarceration, and elimination of bail conditions. During COVID-19, these outcomes were literally life-saving.

Partnerships

VMP partners with Fordham Law School Criminal Defense Clinic to educate students on video mitigation and the advantages of visual advocacy through clinical workshops and lectures on storytelling, interviewing skills, and relationship building with clients. Students conduct interviews, craft case theories, collect essential visual material, interview clients, including at Rikers Island, and develop cohesive and compelling narratives for videos that will be used to advocate on our clients’ behalf. This partnership imparts upon the next generation of lawyers and legal professionals the positive impact that compassionate, client-centered advocacy has, and allows them the freedom to explore and pursue novel advocacy methods for clients who need it most. The VMP has also partnered with legal organizations and other schools to conduct trainings to educate lawyers, law students, and college students about video mitigation.

Get Involved

Your generosity will help us create a system where all clients, not only clients of means, can benefit from this new strategy and change the course of plea bargaining and sentencing. To support The Legal Aid Society, click here. Filmmakers who wish to donate time and equipment can email VideoMitigation@legal-aid.org.

Additional Resources