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Information about a defendant or the circumstances of a crime that might tend to lessen the sentence or the crime with which the person is charged.
To make less rigorous or penal. Crimes are frequently committed under circumstances which are not justifiable nor excusable, yet they show that the offender has been greatly tempted; as, for example, when a starving man steals bread to satisfy his hunger, this circumstance is taken into consideration in mitigation of his sentence.In actions for damages, or for torts, matters are frequently proved in mitigation of damages. In an action for criminal conversation with the plaintiff's wife, for example, evidence may be given of the wife's general bad character for want of chastity; or of particular acts of adultery committed by her, before she became acquainted with the defendant or that the plaintiff has carried on a criminal conversation with other women or that the plaintiff's wife has made the first advances to the defendant.In actions for libel, although the defendant cannot under the general issue prove the crime, which is imputed to the plaintiff, yet he is in many cases allowed to give evidence of the plaintiff's general character in mitigation of damages.