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mitigationreduction. The term is most often found in two phrases: ‘mitigating circumstances’ - an attempt to keep the sentence to a minimum; and in mitigation of damages, the duty on the victim of a contract-breaker or a delinquent or tort-feasor to keep his losses within reason.
MITIGATION. To make less rigorous or penal.
2. 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.
3. 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; 12 Mod. R. 232; Bull. N. P. 27, 296; Selw. N. P. 25; 1 Johns. Cas, 16: or that the plaintiff has carried on a criminal conversation with other women; Bull. N. P. 27; or that the plaintiff's wife has made the first advances to the defendant, 2 Esp. N. P. C. 562; Selw. N. P. 25. See 3 Am. Jur. 287, 313; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
4. 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. 2 Campb. R. 251; 1 M. & S. 284.