Felony cases are as unique as they are serious. No two cases are exactly alike. As an attorney, it may be easy for you to lump robberies, sexual assaults and even homicides into their own neat little bundles. And indeed, if one were to strictly follow the Elements of an Offense, you would be justified in doing so. However, looking in from the outside, an assault or other felony may appear to be the same as another, but as we know, nothing could be further than the truth. Every case has its own motive, its own set of exact circumstances, and of course, its own involved parties. For these reasons, along with your protection, every felony case should be independently investigated.
A qualified defense investigator knows the importance of an independent review of the discovery packet and the information which can be obtained. Verification of all statements made to law enforcement is paramount. If we are to believe law enforcement research on officer-involved shootings, two to three sleep cycles are necessary before an officer can accurately detail what occurred. If this is true for trained police officers, could the same argument not be made for the average citizen who witnesses an event? Therefore, is it not likely that witnesses could have inadvertently left crucial information out of their original statements?
Let’s look at the events again from a law enforcement perspective. Law enforcement looks at criminal acts according to the Elements of an Offense. Suppose a responding officer believes the Elements have been met. Is it possible he or she might dismiss an extra witness, or decide there was no need to check one more house with a camera, or maybe not worry about tracking down a witness someone else reported as having left prior to his arrival? What if an officer was simply lied to and wasn’t aware of the existence of exculpatory evidence?
Finally, you should look at this from your own perspective. While you may have the experience and education needed to review the facts on your own, can you testify to those facts? Is your time best spent checking the criminal history of various witnesses or compiling evidence presented by a qualified investigator on another case, allowing you to clear your caseload more quickly? What if your client is convicted? One of the first appeals is ineffective assistance of counsel. Once your client has exhausted all available appeals or waived them, the only option left is filing a writ. The writ has two options, true innocence or ineffective assistance (again). An affidavit to go along with your thorough investigative report will go a long way to shut down a bogus ineffective assistance claim.
The next time a felony case rolls across your desk and you need a coherent independent investigation that can lead to an acquittal or better plea, call the professional investigators at Preferred Intelligence. 214-785-4504