The start of any new project means doing research. For this story that means diving into the world of private investigators once again.
One of the many things a private investigator can do is assist a legal defence lawyer with case preparation. While reading up on this (Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigation—what else would I use?) I came across the discovery box.
Before I continue, please remember this is US directed research.
Discovery is the process by which the prosecution, and to a degree the defence, exchange information about a case. Discovery is usually dealt with at the arraignment and the discovery box, or package, comprises the evidence to be used by the prosecution during the case.
A typical discovery box can include:
Evidence that may assist the defendant’s case must also be turned over by the prosecution—they cannot hide or withhold it. This kind of evidence is called exculpatory evidence.
There is evidence that the defence must give to the prosecutor. The prosecutor is to be notified of any alibi the defendant will use, and details of any people corroborating the alibi.
Private investigators can go through the evidence, revisit crime scenes, look for and interview witnesses the police may not have, and view the physical forensic evidence. A good PI with a background in criminal investigation can be a valuable asset in a criminal defence case. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, and PI’s are often asked to discover whether someone else could have committed the crime. If doubt can be thrown on the guilt of the accused, then they have a good chance of being acquitted. The items in the discovery box can give the PI clues and leads to follow that may prove crucial to proving innocent, or confirming guilt.
I think it sounds fascinating—sifting through evidence, looking for things that may have been overlooked. I’m going to have fun working out what is in the discovery box my PI character will be given!
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