When you have to testify in court as a private investigator, how can you refer to your notes without opposing council entering them into evidence to pick them apart and try to use them against you?
First of all…
If you’re working a case and a law firm is your client, then ask that attorney what they want you to do.
Tell your lawyer-client you’ve got notes ans ask if they want you to bring them to the stand with you. Ask them how they want you to handle it. She or he will let you know what to do.
But if you don’t have that kind of direction, consider the little trick I use.
I witnessed a strong-arm robbery while I was doing surveillance.
I was the only one who got the license plate number and I had the video, of course so, naturally, the prosecutor’s office called me to testify on this.
Side Note: Just so you know – and this is how it goes in real life – although this was initially a Strong-Arm Robbery, by time it made it to court the charges had been reduced to simply Theft. If you haven’t experienced working criminal cases, don’t be upset when this happen on your case. That’s just the way it goes.
Back to the case…
I had notes with me about the crime. I wanted to make sure that I got everything accurate, including the license plate number, the vehicle description, what time it happened – those types of things.
As you know, you can be called to testify months or sometimes a year or more after you do surveillance or after you witness a crime. You want to be accurate so you might have your notes with you. I did in this case.
In this case my notes were just things like where the theft happened, the license plate number, date, time and whatnot.
Here’s how your notes can be used against you…
What don’t want when you have notes with you is for opposing counsel, or in this case the criminal defense attorney, to say, “Well, you’re referring to your notes. Let me see those notes.” Then for him to look them over and say, “You know your honor, I’d like to enter these into the record.”
Now, all of your notes are part of the evidence that can be picked apart!
They might say, “Well look, you scratched out something here. What did you scratch out? The first license plate number you wrote down… why were the last two digits were reversed? Why did you change that? Which one is really wrong?”
They can have a lot of fun picking apart your notes!
Here’s the Trick
So here’s a trick I used to try to keep them from entering my notes into the record. In this particular case, if you flip over my page of notes, you’ll see I wrote them on the back of a print-out of the defendant’s previous arrest!
The defense attorney will look at these notes, if he chooses too, decide maybe he’s interested in what I’ve written down, but when he flips the page over, he’s going to see his client’s (the defendant’s) criminal history printed out, and there’s no way he’s gonna’ want that entered into the record!
In this particular case, here’s what’s on there: 1 count of Aggravated burglary. 2 counts of Kidnapping and 2 counts of Rape.
Does he want this stuff entered into the record? No Way!
The print out also included all the case numbers, dates and other specifics of his crimes (but no victim’s information, of course).
Can you imagine how happy the Prosecutor would be to have all of that criminal history entered into evidence by the defense attorney?!?
So, when the defense attorney sees his client’s criminal history listed in detail, he’s going to be very reluctant to want to pull my notes and put those directly into the record.
Warning: I’m not an attorney and I can’t say that this is one hundred percent foolproof and that the defense attorney wouldn’t enter them into the record anyway. But it’s a precaution that I’ve taken over the years just to make the defense attorney take that second thought about trying to jam me up with my own notes. It’s nice to have that one extra layer of protection in place, just in case.
This trick comes right out of my latest book, it was just released. It’s called 51 Weird Private Investigator Tricks That Actually Work: How to Trick, Track, Find and Follow Someone Like a Pro.
This is just the first of many dozens of tricks I teach there. I’d love it if you go over there to Amazon and check it out. At least peruse through the free portion you can read online.
If you’re on my email list, then you already got a sneak preview of a different chapter.
By the way, if you want to be on my email list, I do have a free report over titled: If you want to be a private investigator, give up unless you do these three things. If you’ve read this far, that report will definitely be off interest to you and then you get updates, tricks and info like what I shred with you here.
You can get the special report it right here…
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, Private Investigator
P.S. – Be cautious of people who promise to give you results in your life they haven’t actually created for themselves! By that, I mean people who want to teach you things, but they’ve never been-there or done-that. They’ve never done it in the real world.
I am living proof of the tricks in the book Fifty-One Weird Private Investigator Tricks That Actually Work!
I have used them and I’ve had great success with them over the years. you’re going to find plenty of tricks useful in your life out of the dozens I teach there.