Unlike private investigators in most books and movies, real life investigators have to live and work according to laws. Loose cannons from film don’t keep their licenses very long.
The Role of the Houston Private Investigator
In this particular article, we’re going to talk about the role of a private investigator (or sometimes a team of investigators), when engaged in one aspect or another of a high profile case.
In recent years we had a media craze over a number of high profile cases, among these there was,
- O.J. Simpson
- Martha Stewart
- Michael Jackson
- Timothy McVeigh
- Rod Blagojevich
- “Scooter” Libby
- Saddam Hussein
- Scott Peterson
- Rae Carruth
- John Gotti “The Dapper Don”
- The Menendez Brothers
- Robert Blake
- Casey Anthony
A good number of those cited could easily have gone either way. Their attorneys, with the aid of forensic experts and private investigators, were able in many cases, to pull a rabbit from their hat casting just enough doubt that the jury could not reach a guilty verdict.
There have been a great many more, all capturing the rapt attention of the public, with the media working overtime in a frenzy to keep up the supply for the public.
Understanding High-Profile Cases
Invariably, in such high-profile cases, more than one attorney is usually involved. Making up a team, often each in his or her particular field of expertise. Their job is not to judge but to see that the defense gets a fair hearing and trial. Technically, it would seem that a defense has nothing to do but to watch, listen, and make sure the prosecution proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in real-life situations, that is seldom the case.
A private investigator may find just the information that will either exonerate your client or at least cast enough doubt causing the prosecution’s case to crumble. Proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is a serious and difficult action.
Being charged with a serious crime is very traumatic not only for you, the accused but for your family, friends, co-workers and perhaps many others. When you are a well-known person, the media may descend like a pack of starving piranhas on you and they’ll be closely tailed by the public. Neither you nor your family or friends will be immune from this attention.
Celebrity Subjects Are Often Targets
A celebrity or other well-known person who has been charged with a serious crime is especially vulnerable. Others, not well-known, as in the Casey Anthony case, nevertheless capture the attention of the public due to the bizarre nature of the crime and the charges, as well as the trial.
With the proper legal representation to see to your rights you’re halfway home, but in addition, your counselors will either have a private investigator like Gradoni & Associates on retainer, or they can hire a company to initiate an investigation into the background not only of you yourself but of the victims and any witnesses.
For you to hire your own private investigator can be a bit iffy. Private investigators in the State of Texas do not always share an attorney-client relationship. If for some reason, you should hire a private investigator, it would be wiser not to put anything in writing because it might later be used as any sort of evidence against you.
The moment a client enters an attorney’s office seeking advice, an attorney-client privilege exists. Anything said between you is confidential. However, once the attorney accepts your case, any investigators the attorney hires are not necessarily subject to this privacy.
The attorney-client privilege of confidentiality normally doesn’t extend to consultants, and that would include private investigators. Although there are certain conditions under which the private investigator has a confidentiality privilege, this for an express purpose which doesn’t concern us just here.
Even though private investigators hold no official position, they often work alongside the law and frequently have positive relationships, sharing information that does not compromise any laws or regulations.
In books and film, PIs often refuse to work with the law, break all sorts of rules and get beat up. At the end, of course, they nail the killer. But that’s fiction. Detectives do often work on murder cases, particularly those that have grown “cold” and desperate relatives continue to search for answers.
But high-profile cases belong in a class of their own. Aside from the media publicity and the insatiable interest of the public — a public that usually makes up its own mind long before a decision is handed down by the courts, and will never change its mind — there is a much deeper and more complicated aspect to this sort of crime.
Often the accused in such cases not only have powerful friends but powerful enemies as well. People can and do lie under oath and witnesses are often mistaken. Sometimes the mistakes are understandable. During the commission of a crime, things can happen very quickly and witnesses may not actually see what they seem to remember. A witness may be prejudiced against the accused because of his/her race or religious orientation. Witnesses may be completely mistaken about the date of the crime. In criminal cases, an investigator may just discover someting that has been previously overlooked.
The prosecution’s investigators are not looking for exculpatory evidence, but quite the opposite. In some unfortunate cases, even after having heard such evidence, they fail to notify the defense team.
For these and many other reasons, an investigator or a team, depending on the nature of the crime, can make a life or death difference.
While it may be true that an expert and capable defense costs money, most high-profile defendants are fortunately in a position to make arrangements. We’re pretty sure O.J. felt that every penny spent on attorneys and their consultants, including private investigators was well worth every penny.
Languishing for years in prison on Death Row is not a pleasant thought.