Your attorney may enlist the help of a private investigator to assist with your criminal defense. And for good reason. No matter how skilled and experienced your lawyer is, she can’t possibly spend time digging up facts as thoroughly as you would like – and overlooking an important fact can have dire consequences for the outcome of your criminal trial. Your attorney can’t be out in the field canvasing and interviewing witnesses or personally vetting experts. That’s why she pays a professional private investigator, like Baldwin Legal Investigations.
The criminal defense attorneys we work with (mostly here in Alabama, but also around the Pensacola, Florida area) leverage our investigators’ collective experience and can draw on our personal network of industry and subject matter experts. After all, we’re in the information business so we know how to track down what’s needed pre-trial. For example, your criminal defense lawyer may not have any professional connections to an insurance fraud examiner – but a PI who has worked dozens of insurance fraud cases would naturally have these resources.
One of the most important thing a private investigator does when supporting a criminal defense case is locate and interview witnesses. By reviewing all the relevant information collected by the police (witness statements, crime scene photos, police reports, etc.) the PI builds a list of tasks that will start to flesh out all the details of your case. He will locate and interview all the original witnesses mentioned in the police report, but, more importantly, he will conduct a canvass of the neighborhood, run down leads that may end up at dead-ends, and potentially unearth valuable information that can help with your defense at trial. It is painstaking work and requires a systematic process and highly professional approach.
If you have already been convicted of a crime, a private investigator will be enlisted by your attorney to assist with your appeal. PIs aren’t advocates (that’s your attorney’s job) but they are diligent fact-finders and if any of the prosecution’s work was lacking an investigator will find it so your attorney can exploit it. BLI’s private investigators are all well-versed in police procedure. This knowledge is helpful when trying to determine if there were flaws in any work conducted by the prosecution or police.
In cases like this, the PI will likely revisit the crime scene to take pictures, verify sight lines, make sketches – sometimes just another look can reveal inconsistencies in the original police investigation.