all criminal cases do not require the services of a
professional investigator, in those that do, the
investigator is one of the most important members of the
defense team. The investigator has several different, but
equally important functions in preparing for an effective
defense to the government’s charges.
One of the first things that the investigator must do is to
verify and validate the investigation conducted by law
enforcement officers and agencies. Far too often, police
identify a suspect and then seek to build a prosecutable
case against that individual. In doing this, they sometimes
slant information or cast information in the light most
harmful to the defendant, ignoring other possible suspects.
A criminal defense investigator will review the police
investigation and re-interview witnesses to find changes in
their stories and to develop new and independent leads.
Seeking out new and unidentified witnesses is just as vital
in preparing the defense case. These new witnesses often
provide information that contradicts the “facts” upon which
the prosecution is basing its case.
Having the ability to properly evaluate witnesses both as to
their truthfulness and veracity, as well as the image that
they will convey to a jury should they be called upon to
testify. This often requires the investigator to learn about
each witness in order to discover if there is anything in
their personal background and/or their physical or mental
condition that can be used effectively either to bolster or
attack their testimony.