Life history and fact investigations for defendants facing capital punishment and juveniles facing life sentences.
Through the assiduous process of fact finding and mitigation we are dedicated to the role of playing an integral part in the fervent defense to indigent individuals facing the death penalty, to alleviate the suffering of those persons, and to contest the opprobrious portrayal associated with defendants the government is seeking to execute.
Jeff has spent his career working within the criminal justice system commencing with the Maine State Police and subsequently as a legal investigator in private practice specializing in capital defense and with the Regional Public Defender's Office in the state of Texas.
Today, the focus of Jeff's work is in providing prompt and thorough fact investigation and mitigation development services to indigents facing the death penalty working alongside the attorneys as members of the defense team, interviewing witnesses, procuring relevant documents, reviewing and analyzing evidence, and developing working relationships with clients and their families.
What drives our organization is our strong commitment to public interest law. Philosophically and ideologically we ascribe to the theory of justice when violations of legal and human rights occur.
We constantly strive to insure that the due process rights of individuals are protected. Injustices continue to occur with regularity in our courts. Regrettably, and all too often, dubious evidence is admitted by judges who preside over the fates of criminal defendants. We know from bitter experience that judges and juries get things wrong. As an ardent student of the law, we are struck by William Blackstone’s principle "Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer" a commentary on the law that continues to resonate with us in our practice and professional career.
Moreover, we believe strongly that all defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence. We assiduously investigate the cases we are privileged to work on uncovering evidence, which holds prosecutors accountable and aids in avoiding the rendering of wrongful convictions within a system that is far from “fair and balanced”.
Atlantic International Associates is a licensed investigative organization (Texas DPS # A04131101), which is emerging as a reputable asset in the state of Texas for defense teams and their clients.
Jeff Wax is licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety as an investigator. He is available for both court-appointed and retained capital and non-capital cases. Throughout his career he has worked on numerous death penalty cases in pre-trial, trial and post-conviction stages. Jeff has also investigated non-capital criminal cases, including matters pertaining to “white collar crimes”, conspiracy, murder, drug trafficking, domestic assault, assault with a deadly weapon, child molestation, sex abuse and pornography.
Our work focuses on the critically important task of investigating capital defendants’ life stories and are an indispensable part of any competent capital defense team. As the Supreme Court has held, our job is to uncover the "possibility of compassionate or mitigating factors stemming from the diverse frailties of humankind."
The Mitigation Mission
"The end result of a well-executed mitigation process is a compelling biography of a person for whom empathy and sympathy can be elicited. In fact, the focal mission of the entire mitigation process is to inspire empathy and sympathy for clients among jurors". Tell The Client's Story, Edward Monahan and James Clark, eds. American Bar Association. 2017. Page 202.
"Mitigation Specialists are critical and integral members of the defense team when a person convicted of capital murder is facing a potential death sentence. Having an experienced Mitigation Specialist is fundamental to effective representation." In this capacity we uncover admissible, reliable mitigation evidence through client and witness interviews as well as through record retrieval. We also work with the defense team to develop effective themes and strategies for the presentation of mitigation evidence. The Supreme Court of the United States has defined mitigation as “any aspect of a defendant's character or record and any of the circumstances of the offense that the defendant proffers as a basis for a sentence less than death.” Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U.S. 596, 604-605 (1980).
"Mitigation is a translational process that takes a wide range of information and crafts it into useful defense information. While mitigation is informed by clinical knowledge the desired outcome is not a clinical assessment. Instead, mitigation forms a critical part of the overall defense strategy by fleshing out the fuller context of the client and his or her world. The work involves a unique kind of biographical data collection in order to advance the development of compelling themes that will shape the capital defense efforts during all phases of the trial." Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Team in Death Penalty Cases (2008),
In serving our clients needs Jeff Wax relies on his extensive experience as a mitigation specialist in both pre-trial and post-conviction stages of state and federal capital murder cases.
Atlantic International Associates is a licensed independent investigative organization (Texas DPS # A04131101) and its principal, Jeff Wax, is licensed with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Jeff is available for both court-appointed and retained cases.
We have investigated many state and federal cases in the employ of the government and in private practice. Whether you are taking a private or appointed case, we are with you every step of the way, from intake through trial. We understand the process and the unique issues that attorneys face in criminal defense cases, and we are here to help. We also understand the expense involved in representing criminal defendants. We work within your budget to provide the most efficient and cost-effective investigation.
How does mitigation of punishment fit into the equation in capital defense? Watch the interview of my colleague and fellow mitigation specialist Victoria Rusk during the interview she gave to Houston Public Access Television on April 26, 2018, which is both informative and enlightening.