Using Discovery and Investigation to Defend a Criminal Case

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Using Discovery and Investigation to Defend the Criminal Case

You have been charged with a crime and are considering whether to hire an attorney.  One of the things you are probably interested in is what kind of things an attorney can do to help you in defending your case.  This blog by the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower takes a look at some of the discovery methods and investigation ideas that an attorney can utilize to help you in defending your criminal charge.

  • Use of an investigator to examine evidence:  The police have used all the substantial

tools at their disposal to investigate and file charges.  Now that you have been charged, you may wish to have your attorney to engage an investigator to work on your behalf.  This investigator can conduct interviews of witnesses, examine crime scenes, review evidence, and look for shortcomings in the police investigation.  The statements taken by an investigator should be taped if possible.  This way a detailed analysis can be made of the statement given to the investigator in comparison to any statements given to law enforcement.  Additionally, the version of events a witness may give to a case once removed from the emotion of it may result in a substantially different take on the events.  Reviewing a crime scene may reveal facts and evidence that the police overlooked or discounted.  Private investigators can be expensive, and therefore, are many times reserved for the most serious of cases.

  • Attorney Conducting a Site Visit:  One thing is for sure for an attorney preparing for

for a jury, a review of the probable cause affidavit cannot substitute for visiting the scene of the crime.  For example, in a murder case where there is video evidence of the crime, going to visit the site and seeing the location in person can give a different perspective from what a video might give.  Going on a site visit may make something the attorney has previously seen in evidence look different or mean something different.  The attorney may notice that an angle of a particular witness would have been blocked or restricted.  The attorney might see other businesses that may have security cameras that could have captured something important to the case.  In cases where it is warranted, a site visit can lead to invaluable source of information for the defense attorney to work with.

  • Third Party Discovery and Requests:  The Defense attorney may want to request

documents, videos, interview statements, or investigation reports from third parties.  Many times individuals or businesses may have records that could shed light on the facts of the case and dramatically impact the defense of a criminal charge.  If the attorney believes a piece of valuable evidence exists, they can then subpoena the evidence and require that it be turned over.  This is something an investigator may be able to help with as well by making contact with various people and/or businesses that may have this information so that the attorney knows who and what to ask for.

  • Use of Sworn Taped Statements or Depositions:  These can be absolutely crucial to

the success or failure of your criminal case.  The Defense attorney can get a sworn taped statement or deposition (depending on jurisdiction) of the witnesses in your case.  This is an opportunity for the defense attorney to dig into the details of each witness’s account of the event.  As the old saying goes. the devil is in the details.  When the police are conducting an investigation, many times the details are either glossed over or not asked about at all.  Sometimes, the police only focus on the details that support their theory of the case.  When the defense attorney gets to ask the witnesses questions, they can focus on the details to see what inconsistencies might exist between witnesses and between witnesses and their prior statements.  Further, it is very often the case that the witnesses may remember more details than when they are in the heat of the moment, or their view/take of the events may have changed.  It is very common for a witness’s perspective of an event to change once they have had an opportunity to step away from the emotion of the event.

  • Use of Social Media and Technology:  The modern day use of social media and cell

phones has greatly increased the landscape of what a defense attorney can look at in developing a defense.  A review of witness’s social media including twitter, Facebook, snap chat and the like. can reveal all types of information.  These sources can provide the attorney with a variety of information regarding a witness’s likes, dislikes, motivations, employment, marital status, and most importantly any comments they may have made regarding the events in question.  Much like social media, cell phones carry all types of valuable information.  A witness may have taken pictures or videos of things that happened at or around the crime scene.  Additionally, the person may have sent text messages that are crucial to what their immediate reaction was to the situation.   Despite what people may think, just because they deleted something from their cell phone, does not mean that it isn’t still on the phone to be reviewed at a later time.  Again, these tools could provide the defense attorney with crucial information that may contradict or prove allegations to be false.
This is just a non-exhaustive sampling of the variety of techniques that can be used by a criminal defense attorney to investigate and defend your criminal case.  If you have been charged with a crime, contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyers at Banks & Brower today at 317-870-0019 to discuss your case.