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In Georgia, criminal sentencing marks a critical period for convicted defendants. As the final moment before the superior court fashions a punishment, the defendant faces a pivotal opportunity to introduce mitigating evidence, including evidence of mental health challenges, life circumstances, and other facts. Where such evidence is offered, the superior court can properly issue a sentence that aligns with the purposes of punishment or other state policies. But some populations, especially veterans convicted of nonviolent offenses, are exposed to unique stressors that likely affect their culpability. The existing sentencing regime, however, does not guarantee that this mitigating evidence will even be considered. This Note argues that Georgia should follow other states in creating a statutory mitigation factor for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. This factor strikes a balance between the importance of a court’s discretion and the veteran’s possibly mitigating experiences. Moreover, I argue that, because the factor aligns with the retributive and rehabilitative purposes of criminal law, adopting it would actually further Georgia’s sentencing policy.

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