1st Edition

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

By Dean A. Beers, CLI Copyright 2011
    382 Pages 41 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    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, www.AutopsyReview.org

    "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, www.NALI.com

    " … 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