California - CAN I CONDUCT PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FOR COURT

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Latest post 07-28-2014 1:48 PM by ca19lawyer2. 4 replies.
  • 07-27-2014 3:07 PM

    California - CAN I CONDUCT PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FOR COURT

    San Diego, California

    I have pled Not Guilty to a Felony Criminal Charge. I have paid $9,000 in Attorney fees so far. The Police Report incorrectly states an important part of the arrest. I do not have additional funds to pay the cost for an Investigator from my Attorney's Office to get a statement of facts from a person involved in the arrest. This person involved in the arrest I know from unrelated business transactions.

    This person I believe would provide an honest and accurate statement of the events and comments that took place prior to Police arriving and making the arrest. I believe the Police Officer unitentionally made the inaccurate statement in the Police Report based on other peoples comments.  I had thought that my Attorney would conduct the interview of this person (by telephone possibly) as part of the $9,000 fee. But he requested an additional $1,000.00 for an investigator from his office to obtain the statement from the person.

    My question is: Can I contact this person, obtain a statement of facts, and submit the signed statement to the court, or my attorney? Or does the statement need to be submitted in court through an investigator? I know the court has procedures to follow so maybe they will not accept me obtaining a statement. If your wondering why I do not ask my attorney this question? He has got angry at questions I asked before and its too late to change attorney's as I am broke.

    Steve Murphy

  • 07-27-2014 3:21 PM In reply to

    Re: California - CAN I CONDUCT PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FOR COURT

    TownWithoutPity1:
    Can I contact this person, obtain a statement of facts, and submit the signed statement to the court, or my attorney?

    NO.  Not only would the court view it as self serving and coerced you could be charged with tampering with a witness.

    TownWithoutPity1:
    Or does the statement need to be submitted in court through an investigator?

    If you want it taken seriously by the court it does.

    TownWithoutPity1:
    The Police Report incorrectly states an important part of the arrest.

    The police report will not be used as evidence in court.  The officer's testimony will.  

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 07-27-2014 3:26 PM In reply to

    Re: California - CAN I CONDUCT PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FOR COURT

    TownWithoutPity1:
    My question is: Can I contact this person, obtain a statement of facts, and submit the signed statement to the court, or my attorney?

    The statement would do no good and the court would not accept it. The statement would be heresay and not admissible in court. Similarly, the police report is heresay and not admissible in court either. The purpose of having the investigator go out and interview the witness is (1) to find out what the witness would likely say if he were called to testify and thus allow the lawyer to decide whether to subpoena the witness to the trial and (2) the investigator can himself be a witness to impeach the testimony of the other person if that person were to testify differently than what he told the investigator. It's not a good idea for the defendant to that because the defendant often does not want to testify at trial and thus does not want to be the person testifying to impeach the witness if that were necessary and because the defendant's credibility might not be as strong as an independent investigator due to bias, making impeachment less effective. Note, too, that if you don't know what you are doing, you might screw it up give rise to the prosecutor claiming that you improperly influenced the witness. 

  • 07-27-2014 5:17 PM In reply to

    Re: California - CAN I CONDUCT PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FOR COURT

    TownWithoutPity1:
    Can I contact this person, obtain a statement of facts, and submit the signed statement to the court, or my attorney? 

    STAY AWAY from the witness.  An investigator needs to go out and obtain a taped statement from the witness.  Having a trained investigator do it is for your benefit.  You contact him to discuss the case, it will not be helpful for your defense and it could make the witness completely unusable at trial.

  • 07-28-2014 1:48 PM In reply to

    Re: California - CAN I CONDUCT PRIVATE INVESTIGATION FOR COURT

    TownWithoutPity1:
    Can I contact this person, obtain a statement of facts, and submit the signed statement to the court, or my attorney?

    Can you contact him?  Your post seems to indicate you can.  However, I doubt that's what you intended to ask.  First, and most importantly, you don't submit witness statements to the court.  If you want the witness to testify at trial, you/your lawyer needs to subpoena him; a written statement won't be admissible.  Second, even if it were admissible, it would be a terrible idea for you to obtain it.  You're obviously biased, so why would anyone believe the statement accurately reflects what the witness told you?  You could even run the risk of being accused of tampering with the witness.  Also, anything you say to the witness would be admissible if the prosecutor wanted to call the witness to the stand.

     

    TownWithoutPity1:
    Or does the statement need to be submitted in court through an investigator?

    A statement obtained by a PI would be used by your attorney to determine whether or not to call this person as a witness or for other things, but, as explained above, it would not be submitted to the court.  If your attorney wants to file a pretrial motion, the witness would need to sign a sworn affidavit.

     

    TownWithoutPity1:
    If your wondering why I do not ask my attorney this question? He has got angry at questions I asked before

    Who cares if he gets angry?  It's your ass on the line, not his.

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