If you reviewed my web page you saw I have spent over 30 years as a Criminal Investigator in the State of Idaho. I was credited with successfully investigating some of Idaho's most serious and complex crimes.
After retiring from law enforcement and now assisting attorneys with Criminal Defense cases, I often asked by present Law Enforcement Officers how I can provide such a service.
This really is an interesting topic. If you had asked me if I would be doing this when I was working as a Law Enforcement Investigator, I would have told you there would be no way I would be working for the defense.
And actually one of my first big cases was a tough one for me. It was a first degree homicide case and after reviewing the case file, photographs, and follow up interviews, there was no question the person was guilty as he had been charged.
So now what is my job as an investigator assisting Defense Counsel with this case?
The United States Constitution provides in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and District wherein the crime shall have been committed, which District shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
So my job now is to see that the defendant does receive a fair trial and put forth the best defense available to him or her.
Working as a defense investigator, part of my job is to work with the defense attorneys to assure that the proper charges have been applied to the offense charged. Meaning all the elements of the crime are present.
This is one of the most abused powers I see working defense cases today. The Law Enforcement Officers or the prosecutors have actually charged the wrong charges and not all the elements of the crime exists.
Something to consider about this is that once you are charged with a crime it is very difficult to have that record removed from your background. Even if you are innocent and should have never been arrested and or charged.
I have been involved in several cases that after a full investigation the prosecutor has dismissed the charge, but the record is still present when a background is run on that individual.
During the past ten years, working in the private sector of investigations, I have found that many private attorneys in Idaho don't understand how valuable an experienced professional private investigator can be to their case.
I have been contacted numerous times by attorneys asking for my assistance on a case telling me that they have little or no case.
One of the first cases I ever worked, the attorney asked me to assist in a kidnapping and rape case. The attorney told me that our client was a really bad guy, and had spent a lot of time in prison. The client had been accused of physically raping, and forcing the victim to use drugs and keeping her against her will in his home for several days.
Through my investigation I learned the victim in this case had been using the internet to solicit sex for an extended period of time, she had absconded from felony probation because she had been using methamphetamine and she was using our client's place for a hide out from her probation officer. Law Enforcement had only taken the victims statement and without any follow up investigation arrested the client.
The case was dismissed.
This client still contacts me from time to time to thank me. He had just been recently released from prison when he was arrested on the above charges. He had done his time for his past transgressions and he was trying to change his life. He has been clean for over 10 years and working at the same job.
One of the most recent cases I assisted on was a detention officer accused of having sexual contact with an inmate. This officer was charged with five counts of sexual assault of an inmate.
When the attorney first contacted me, he had viewed the discovery supplied by the sheriff's office which consisted of 3 interviews and the video surveillance. The attorney was not sure if his client was guilty or not by what he had been provided.
My first look at this case was to travel to the jail and meet and interview the jail staff. Much to my surprise I was told I couldn't interview the law enforcement personnel. So much for transparency in our Law Enforcement. The Sheriff questioned why I was investigating this case as it was a slam dunk.
I chose not to interview the inmate witnesses. The law enforcement investigator interviewed the witnesses (other female inmates) and the victim together during the initial investigation. In doing so he corrupted any further information or statements made by both the witnesses and the victim. It would be uncertain whose statement I would be getting if I attempted to conduct a proper interview, as the initial interview was now corrupted.
I conducted an investigation into the victims past and established that she had been housed in five other facilities. One of the detention centers was located close to me, so I paid a visit to the center and started inquiring about this specific inmate.
I discovered that this inmate was actually known as a problem inmate and that is the reason she was transferred often to other detention centers. Because this detention center was also the same county that this inmate was originally sentenced in, I took the time to review her court file looking to see if this person had a history of lying and or deception.
Through my investigation I found this inmate had accused three (3) other detention officers with sexual conduct. These other allegations had been investigated and were unfounded. During one of the investigations a fellow inmate told the investigator how this inmate used the allegation to escape disciplinary actions that they were going to be impose on her for misconduct.
Even after obtaining all the documents from the different detention centers on this inmate the Sheriff refused to accept the fact that his employee might be innocent of the charges he was being accused of. The Sheriff also refused to ask for any further follow up investigation into the allegations of the inmate.