Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Conducting Criminal Defense Investigations



Private investigators are routinely involved in criminal defense investigations and if utilized effectively are an essential part of the defense team. Investigators should have the proper training and experience to be most effective on these cases. Attorneys and private clients should exercise caution in retaining a private investigator who does not have prior criminal defense investigation experience or experience within the criminal justice system.

A private investigator involved in a criminal case can serve a variety of investigative needs including but not limited to; interviews with the attorney and the client and all witnesses; obtain and analyze evidence; check police reports, ambulance/medical hospital records, court transcripts from all proceedings, complaints/indictments, the physical evidence, and check and review statements of prosecution witnesses for inconsistencies; and understand the defense theory – what is the defense attorney attempting to establish or disprove.

Private investigators should also have the ability to properly evaluate witnesses for their truthfulness and veracity as well as the image that they will convey to a jury should they be called to testify. This often includes any pertinent background information about the witnesses. In conducting witness interviews, the investigator must have the knowledge, skills and abilities to do effective interviews. This means that the private investigator must be knowledgeable about the case and skilled in interviewing techniques utilizing various interviewing methodologies.

Investigators at Mission Possible Investigations conduct very effective witness interviews and have expertise in interviewing and evaluating witnesses and defendants with mental health diagnosis and developmental disabilities. Failure to offer accommodations that would ensure effective communication for the defendant at every stage in the criminal justice process should be taken into account in determining whether the defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial has been violated. Investigators also have a specialty in conducting interviews with alleged child victims, alleged victims of sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, stalking and elder abuse. Often there are added communication barriers when interviewing these witnesses that if not taken into account can dramatically alter the veracity of the witness statement.

To be effective a private investigator must understand crime scene reconstruction, photography and evidence collection procedures. In addition, a good investigator will also know how to conduct research, locate governmental records, utilize database searches and will have a working knowledge of criminal law and procedures. A private investigator must also have a total understanding and working knowledge of the Rules of Evidence so that he will be able to obtain and preserve evidence that will be admissible at trial.

Mission Possible Investigations investigators follow high ethical standards to ensure that all information obtained is done so legally so that it can be utilized in court proceedings. A thorough experienced investigator has the ability to support the defense team and more so the defense attorney being their ears and eyes and more often than not doing the investigative leg work attorney’s do not have the time or expertise to complete.