“I think any case that has any real complexity is going to require a private investigator for something.”
– Ellen Henak, Appellate Lawyer.
This blog series covers the importance of using private investigators to garner positive outcomes in settlements and trials. To refresh your memory, in Part 1 I discussed in detail how private investigators can provide independent analyses, conduct neighborhood canvases, advise on the collection and investigation of digital evidence, gather intelligence, and provide the necessary leverage for successful negotiations.
In Part 2, I will address additional resources that a private investigator will access in order to provide credible information to an attorney.
In almost every case, the opponent has identified and interviewed witnesses who are beneficial in supporting their case, which means finding the answers to the hard questions that could have helped your case may have been avoided. This is where a private investigator is integral. A seasoned investigator with a vast background in witness interviewing will gather additional, fundamental information from witnesses. A private investigator knows the questions to ask to expose weaknesses and irregularities in your opponent’s case, allowing you to introduce contradictory statements and inconsistencies during negotiations or trial.
Preparing for Cross Examination
A thorough background investigation of opposing counsel’s key witnesses should be at the heart of any cross-examination prep work. Private investigators specialize in finding “skeletons” that can discredit a witness’s testimony, expose impeachment evidence, and reveal biases. Expert witness background checks could unveil discrediting intelligence, including falsification of qualifications or work issues. In addition, reviewing prior testimony, media publications, or blog articles posted by the expert witness can assist in identifying conflicts of interest and discrediting information.
Prior to commencing litigation, an assets investigation is advisable – because what good comes from winning a judgement that cannot be enforced? Private investigators will locate and document such assets as real estate; vehicles; boats; and liquid reserves and bank accounts, both domestically and offshore. Attempts to hide or misrepresent assets by the opposition can be discovered with the assistance of a private investigator.
Competent private investigators serve as great defense witnesses. In most criminal cases, the state will undoubtedly present to the jury numerous law enforcement officials and experts, all of whom will advance the opponents case – not yours. But bring in a seasoned private investigator as a defense witness and he or she will match the qualifications and training of the state’s witnesses while testifying to investigative steps taken by the defense, evidence collected, and the results of witness interviews.
Using private investigators in both civil and criminal cases will increase your chances for a successful outcome. Gathering and presenting information that is well-documented will elevate your position during negotiations and trial. Attorneys who conduct their own investigations without the aid of a private investigator should be reminded that attorney’s cannot call themselves as a witness at trial. And that is critical when an arsenal of game-changing contradictory statements and vital evidence is in reserve…