December 2015
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In the Spring of 2016 the Indiana Society of Professional Investigators and the Indiana Association of Background Screeners will present a one-day seminar on "Problems and Pitfalls in Pre-employment Screening" at a venue and date to be announced soon. Don C. Johnson, of Trace Investigations, Bloomington and a founding member of INspi, and Mike McCarty, of Safe Hiring Solutions in Danville and a founding member of IABS, will be presenters. If you want to be on the email list for the seminar, contact us at

The Trace team would like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays!

We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide you this valuable information. We take special care to ensure the information we provide you in "Tracings" is the latest and most current information available. In this edition, Tina Skirvin, chief field investigator for Trace Investigations, provides insights into the value a criminal defense investigator brings to the criminal justice system, providing defense attorneys with unbiased fact-finding in the pursuit of reasonable doubt. Also, Tina shares a case study to show how accurate facts get results.

The goal of this e-newsletter is to provide you with critical information that will help you prevail in your business affairs wherever fact finding is an essential component. We will share what we have learned in our 30+ years as professional investigators and intelligence analysts.

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The Trace Team

The Role of the Criminal Defense Investigatorart1
By Tina M. Skirvin, CCDI

The criminal defense investigator plays an invaluable role within the criminal justice system. While diligently assisting defense counsel in uncovering reasonable doubt on behalf of the accused, the criminal defense investigator's main objective must be to seek and uncover the truth. In order to serve the criminal justice system most effectively, an investigator must remember to remain unbiased during the course of an investigation and to maintain an ample distance from the emotional aspect. Becoming too emotionally attached or opinionated can alter the appropriate avenues which the investigator should follow.

The Component Method provided in Brandon A. Perron's book titled "Uncovering Reasonable Doubt" outlines a practical and effective process for accomplishing a thorough criminal defense investigation. An in-depth review of the discovery file, police reports, witness statements, crime scene examination and lab results is crucial at the beginning of an investigation. This will provide the investigator with an understanding of the allegations and representation of the facts associated with the case. Most importantly, it will allow the investigator to examine the prosecutor's evidence that has been discovered thus far, prepare timelines of important events and formulate a strategy of defense.

The defendant should understand in the beginning that the information shared with the investigator is confidential, protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine. The initial defendant interview should be professional, productive and comfortable. A positive relationship between... Read More

art2 An Accusation of Molestation Proven False
Charges of sexual assault or molestation are grave matters and the effect on victims and their families can be devastating. However, those who are charged with these crimes are entitled to their day in court. This is one such story, with the names changed to protect the innocent.

Bobby Stevens should have known better. He had a habit of supplying beer and cigarettes to teenagers in his neighborhood. But Bobby was a likeable fellow and enjoyed their company. The neighborhood was a rundown rural area, where many of the parents worked two jobs and came home late, leaving their latchkey teenagers to fend for themselves. Bobby was on disability leave one summer and was spending more time than usual with a handful of kids out of school and jobless. One evening he made the mistake of letting a teenage girl sleep over on his couch after a night of partying in his front yard with other kids. Let's call her Abby. Abby told Bobby that both of her parents were working nights and she didn't want to go back to an empty house, especially since she had drunk too much.
When Bobby got up the next morning, Abby was gone. He left to run errands and when he got home a sheriff's deputy was waiting for him. Bobby was arrested for sexual molestation. Abby's mother had been upset with her for staying out all night. In response to her mother's anger, Abby said that Bobby got her drunk and molested her during the night. Her mother called the police.

Bobby's defense attorney phoned Trace Investigations. He needed
...Read More