I often write deviation letters to prosecutors. That is especially important in Maricopa County Superior Court, where deputy county attorneys are forced to follow strict and often ridiculous plea bargaining guidelines. In my experience with deviation letters, I have found that letters citing constitutional issues or exculpatory evidence are far more likely to get a deviation than those citing a client’s mitigating personal circumstances. While I can understand that a prosecutor would rather offer a better bargain than lose a case, it concerns me that prosecutors do not give much weight to a client’s otherwise spotless background, bad health, or personal responsibilities. To me it seems that a strong case for the State involving aberrant behavior and a victimless crime should be just as worthy of a deviation as a weak case for the State involving a victim and a defendant with a long criminal history.