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Posts Tagged ‘Criminal Defense

Notice To Preserve Evidence: EFFECTIVE Evidence Gathering

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First, I should preface this post. This blog post is in the legal category of my blog, but I am NOT an attorney. Always follow the discretion of your attorney over what I say and/or write. Your attorney will understand things about your case that nobody else will, like the nuances of your case, the general attitudes that key people in your case have, and such. So, always listen to your attorney in your case, over anyone else.

Now, on to the topic of this blog post. This blog post is about the Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter, sometimes referred to as the Litigation Hold Letter. This has to be one of the most effective tools for gathering evidence that I have ever used, but yet one of the most overlooked tools that I know of. The Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter is very powerful, if worded correctly and explained correctly to the person it is being served to.

I have served these Notice To Preserve Evidence Letters for over 10 years, and although attorney’s seem to overlook using them, or at least seem to rarely use them, we have gotten evidence that we would not have gotten without using them. In one case we got video evidence that actually exonerated a client on drug trafficking charges, and in another case we got video evidence that assisted a client in securing a settlement from city government. 

Below is a photo of an old Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter that RMRI, LLC. used to get video evidence that resulted in our client obtaining a settlement from the city of Columbia, MO.

The benefit to the Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter is that it puts a burden on the person that it is being served to, that often times influences that person to turn over the requested evidence when they are being served rather than have to try to keep up with it and risk losing it. In the case mentioned in the previous paragraph, where our client was exonerated from drug trafficking charges, RMRI, LLC. served a Notice To Preserve Evidence on a local hotel for video footage in the time frame that the arrest and search of our client occurred, and we found evidence that the items that were found in the search did not belong to our client, nor did he have any knowledge that they were there. The evidence was compelling enough that the prosecution dropped all charges against our client. The hotel did not want to have to pull the video, store it, and be responsible for it, so the management decided to allow us to pull the video and process it the same day we served the the hotel with the Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter. We actually got key video evidence in this case before the local law enforcement agency that investigated this case did. In the other aforementioned case where our client got a settlement from the city, we also got that video evidence before local law enforcement did, the Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter in that case is pictured above.

Typically, Notice To Preserve Evidence or Litigation Hold Letters are used in civil cases, however I know of no case law, court rule, or procedure which bars them from being used in a criminal case. 

The Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter should be crafted by the Private Investigator in these criminal cases, since the Private Investigator should know what specific evidence to target, approved by the attorney, and then served by the Private Investigator. Serving the Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter is no different than process service, as a matter of fact it is process service. After the Notice To Preserve Evidence is served, the signatures are taken and the time and date are filled out, a copy of it should be put in the court docket. This allows the court to see that the party that was in possession of said evidence was put on notice to preserve that evidence in a legal matter. 

The Notice To Preserve Evidence Letter has been one of the most powerful tools that I have ever used in gathering evidence in criminal and civil cases.

RMRI, LLC. hopes to see this tool more widely used by attorney’s and private investigators to gather key evidence that may exonerate their clients in criminal cases or win judgments in civil cases.

Rick Gurley of RMRI, LLC.

The Truth About The Criminal Defense Investigator

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A few days ago I read a very interesting and thought provoking  article by a well respected and extremely knowledgeable and competent Criminal Defense Investigator, and I think it is an EXCELLENT reply to all of those people in Law Enforcement that say that the Criminal Defense Investigator is working for the “darkside”, or the prosecutors that seem to believe the same.

Below is an article by Brandon Perron, and nobody could have said this better….

The Criminal Defense Investigation Training Council

The CDITC Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator maintains a philosophy as an “impartial and objective advocate of the truth”. Many do not understand how this can be so. After all, are we not working on behalf of the defense and therefore committed to defending the guilty as well as the innocent? Indeed. The Constitution of the United States calls for the defense of the accused and ensures that all be afforded a fair trial. Our critics fail to accept that idea than one is innocent until proven guilty. Thus, we assist and defend the “accused”. It is in this spirit and in accordance with the letter of the law that we do what we do. In essence, we are defending not any one individual but in fact an idea defined by truth, liberty, and justice. As a group we work on behalf of all when we ensure one is granted their constitutional right to a fair trial. We do this by pursuing the truth and ensuring that all of the facts are brought to light. This is done while working as an agent of counsel with all the privileges afforded such a role. We uncover and report the truth to defense counsel so that they may properly advise and defend the accused. If all parties were to act in such an impartial and objective manner, the truth would be revealed and justice would be served without prejudice. A lofty idea but an objective nonetheless. Too many in our system, on both sides, have lost sight of what it is that we do and why we do it. Fundamentally, it is about fairness to all. A victim of crime is always a tragic event that demands justice by a fair and just system. Yet, we must also acknowledge and remind our criminal justice colleagues that a victim of the system is also a tragic and appalling crime and in many ways a much larger injustice. In fact, it is an insult to every American who has lost their life defending this great nation.

What of the claims often promoted by narrow minded individuals? I have yet to meet a professional criminal defense investigator who wishes to free the guilty. Such an objective would be outrageous by any standard. Would it not? Of course! However, it is a fact. No, it is a truth that our entire system of juris prudence is based upon the Blackstonian view that it is “better to let ten guilty escape than allow one innocent to suffer”. It is the innocent that our system is designed to protect. The innocent! Consider the meaning of this word. Such a designation comes in many forms. Again, many in the criminal justice system never fail to declare that laws are created to protect the innocent from crime. However, those same fair minded people tend to forget that laws are also created to protect the innocent from the very laws designed to punish the guilty. In other words, laws are created to defend us from ourselves. The greatest threat to freedom and truth comes not from a foreign power but from within. We are our own worst enemy. This is where the criminal defense professional comes into play. We NEVER forget and function as a constant reminder to the fair minded but often forgetful. The reminder is aggressively delivered in the form of facts, evidence, and truth and it is delivered without apology.

The CDITC Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator represents the virtual Knighthood of the faithful. We recognize the need, accept the responsibility, and stand watch as defenders of the constitution and the right of the accused to a fair trial. If you are not a CDITC Board Certified Criminal Defense Investigator, I encourage you to apply and join the ranks of the ever faithful and courageous elite. Our ranks are growing. The monumental task of promoting and defending truth demands no less.

Mandamus Veritas!

Link to The Criminal Defense Investigation Training Council

Thank you Brandon. Thank you for articulately expressing the real truth behind the role of the Criminal Defense Investigator.

 

Rick.

Written by Rick Gurley

November 8, 2006 at 2:31 PM

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