Practical Methods for Legal Investigations : Concepts and Protocols in Civil and Criminal Cases book cover
1st Edition

Practical Methods for Legal Investigations
Concepts and Protocols in Civil and Criminal Cases

ISBN 9781439844847
Published February 9, 2011 by Routledge
382 Pages 41 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Legal investigators are responsible for providing factual evidence – as the fact finders, they are the foundation for the attorneys they work with daily. The attorney is responsible for forming and implementing the legal strategy and presenting it to the judge or jury. The legal investigator provides checks and balances to ensure that no evidence is being forced upon a theory, and that no theory is being forced upon the evidence. Practical Methods for Legal Investigations: Concepts and Protocols in Civil and Criminal Cases presents legal investigators with a step-by-step process that reveals how to methodically find and report evidence in every aspect of the investigative process.

Similar to the scientific principle of using research to prove or disprove a theory, the author’s Investigative Protocol is designed to find the facts that prove or disprove criminal charges, civil allegations, or elements thereof. The book includes case studies that clearly detail how the process of the Investigative Protocol applies to every assignment of the case and to the case as a whole. Comprehensive and methodical, the system provides a map to the truth.

Readers can discuss the book on the Yahoo Group Practical Methods for Legal Investigations.

On March 25, 2012, Dean and Karen Beers were featured guests on Crime Time with Vito Colucci on the BusinessTalkRadio Network.

Dean Beers discusses the book in a video on the CRC Press YouTube Channel.

Table of Contents

What Is a Professional Legal Investigator?
The Professional Legal Investigator
Five Qualities of a Professional Legal Investigator
The Passionate Search for the Facts
The Goals of the Professional Legal Investigator
The Three Requirements of All Investigations
What Roles Are Played in the Legal Drama?
Stage 1: Prepare
Prepare—Records and Reports
Prepare—Transition to Inquire Stage
Stage 2: Inquire
Inquire—Records and Reports
Civil and Criminal—Motor Vehicle Collision
All Types of Cases
Inquire—Expanding the Investigation
Inquire—Request More Information
Inquire—Transition to Analyze Stage
Stage 3: Analyze
Analyze—Records and Reports
Overall Analysis and Transition to Document Stage
Stage 4: Document
Document—Evidentiary Discovery and Disclosures
Document—Attorney-Client and Client (Plaintiff or Defendant)
Document—Legal Investigator’s Work Product
Document—Transition to Report Stage
Stage 5: Report
Report—Case Initiation or Case Status (Prepare)
Report—Incident Synopsis (Prepare)
Report—Provided Information (Prepare)
Report—Discovery or Disclosure (Prepare)
Report—Witnesses or Persons of Interest (Prepare and Inquire)
Report—Backgrounds of Involved Parties and Witnesses (Prepare and
Report—Interviews, Contacts, or Statements (Prepare, Inquire,
and Analyze)
Report—Interview Summaries and Transcripts (Inquire and Analyze)
Report—Scene Surveys or Investigations and Descriptions (Inquire,
Analyze, and Document)
Report—Investigative Processes (All Stages—Focus on Inquire)
Report—Investigative Findings or Expert Opinions (Inquire, Analyze, and
Report—Key Points of Opposing Investigation (Inquire, Analyze, and
Report—Audio Recordings, Video Recordings, and Photography
Report—Attachments, Reports, and Records Acquired (Document)
Report—Evidence Collection, Retention, and Distribution (Document)
Report—Pending Assignments and Activities (Analyze and Document)
Report—Recommendations (Analyze)
Report—Summary (Complete Investigative Protocol)
Report—Certification and Confidentiality Statements
Report—Presentation to the Attorney-Client
Report—Other Common Reports
Report—Other Considerations
Understanding the Completion of this Investigative
Stage 1: Prepare
Stage 2: Inquire
Stage 3: Analyze
Stage 4: Document
Stage 5: Report
The Legal Investigator
The 80/20 Rule of Investigation (and All Things Related)
Stage 1: Prepare
Stage 2: Inquire
Stage 3: Analyze
Stage 4: Document
Stage 5: Report
An Investigator’s Day
Rules and Ethics as Agent for Attorneys
Ethics and Professional Licensing
Ethics and Rules of Evidence
Common Rules Violated
Ethics Scenario
Specific Applicable Rules of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Legal
Scenario (Criminal)
Specifics to the Rules of Professional Conduct (Investigators)
Pretexting for Investigative Purposes
Five Qualities of a Professional Investigator
Equivocal Legal Investigations and Subject Assessment
Chronic and Acute Subject Assessment Factors in ELIs
The Legal Investigator’s Relationship with Families
Conducting Comprehensive Background Investigations
Scenario—Hit and Run
Examples of What Can Be Found in Public Records
Tips and Techniques
Crash Course on Forensic Photography
Recommended Equipment
Highlights of Recommended Policy
Key Purposes of Forensic Photography
Proper Photographic Techniques
Improving Techniques and Results
Protocols of the Forensic Photographer (Including Law Enforcement)
Recording, Archiving, and Distribution of Images
Enhancing vs. Manipulating Images
Courtroom and Evidence
Reviewing and Comprehending Autopsy Reports
An Overview of Death Investigation
Autopsy Report Format and Contents
Nonconforming Autopsy Reports
What to Look For
Investigative Considerations
Introduction to Common Composite Scenarios: Using This Investigative Protocol and Reporting
Investigating Nursing Home and Elder Deaths (and Abuse)
Case Initiation and Assignments
Incident Synopsis
Key Facilities, Agencies, and Persons
Social History
Medical History Summary
Medical and Incident Records Review
Other Records Reviewed
Incident Witnesses
Staff Professional Disciplinary Actions
Investigative Summary
Incident to Death Determination
Scenario Conclusion
Equivocal Death Analysis and Investigation
Case Initiation
Incident Synopsis
Identification and Assessment
Description of the Scenes
Social History and Victimology
Medical History
Case Investigation
Scenario Conclusion
Investigating Motor Vehicle Collisions
Case Initiation and Assignments
Incident Synopsis
Collision Scene Description
Persons of Interest
Scene Photography and Videography
Interview Summaries
Attachments to This Report
Additional Information
Additional Recommendations
Scenario Conclusion
Criminal Defense—Felony Assault and Sex Assault
Case Initiation and Assignments
Incident Synopsis
Prosecuting Attorney Discovery
Persons of Interest
Investigative Review of Discovery Witnesses
Evidence Analysis
Scene Photography and Videography
Description of the Scenes
Social History and Victimology
Medical History
Interview Summaries (Transcripts Are Attached)
Audio Recordings Retention and Distribution
Other Records Reviewed
Additional Information
Case Investigation/Investigative Findings
Additional Recommendations
Scenario Conclusion
Appendix A: The Legal Investigator Defined
Appendix B: Miranda Warning and Waiver
Appendix C: Incident Scene Investigation Protocol
Appendix D: Criminal Investigation Tips in Crimes
Against Persons
Appendix E: Records for Basic Background Checks
Appendix F: Fact-Finding Investigation Report
Appendix G: Agency Policy for Forensic/Evidentiary
Digital Photography
Appendix H: Video and Photograph Log
Appendix I: Medical and Investigative Records Release—
HIPAA Compliant
Appendix J: Confidential Medical Records Request Fax
Appendix K: Helpful Information for Reviewing and
Comprehending Autopsy Reports
Appendix L: Forensic Autopsy Report
Appendix M: Full Body, Male, Anterior and Posterior Views
Appendix N: Professional Codes of Ethics
Appendix O: Recommended Reading and Reference Books

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Dean A. Beers, CLI, formed his legal investigative agency in 1987, quickly becoming a leading and innovative provider of investigative, legal, and trial support services. His services include incident and scene investigations, causation of injuries and death, photography, videography, interviews, evidence collection, records and reports reviews, statement analysis, and many other related services. Beers has lectured extensively and is a regular contributing editor to The Legal Investigator, a publication of the National Association of Legal Investigators.


"Mr. Beers' exemplary performance can be traced to his merger of life experience with in-depth study of criminalistics and meticulous attention to detail.  His investigations show a unique combination of ‘book smarts’ and common sense."

"Dean is an expert forensic photographer and was one of the most thorough medicolegal death investigators I have encountered in my career.  He showed great skill during scene investigations, performing case follow-up, and in the autopsy suite.  He is a credit to the profession and I believe his work displays a commitment to the forensic sciences and investigative services.  His work in both photography and medicolegal investigations is detailed, thorough, objective, and of the highest quality."
Stephen J. Cina, MD, Forensic Pathologist,

"The painstaking inquiry of the legal investigator is indispensable to the competent and successful trial attorney and to the effective administration of justice in this country."
National Association of Legal Investigators / Certified Legal Investigator Program,

" … an information packed, all inclusive "Legal Investigator’s Manual" providing a thorough understanding of the knowledge, skills and practices required in order to become the successful, highly valued investigator on any legal team. … should be a ‘must-read’ for every new investigator making his or her way into criminal defense and civil negligence matters. … The wealth of information in this book is both comprehensive and timeless."
Pursuit Magazine

"I have in front of me a textbook that all professional investigators should read. Dean Beers … has managed to do a great job of compiling a handbook of concepts and protocols that apply to both civil and criminal investigations. … From the outset, this text thoroughly and concisely walks you through an investigation, covering a variety of civil and criminal investigations, from photography to death analysis and all things in between."
Florida Association of Licensed Investigators Newsletter

"This is a powerful work, well researched and professionally written. Beers is a sophisticated, no-nonsense investigator. His writing style produces a readable text that is sufficiently technical and complex so as to not bore or dissatisfy a seasoned legal investigator. Beers has produced a valuable tool that most experts in this fascinating field will want to add to their library."
—Eugene F. Ferraro, CPP, in Security Management