Last month I posed a question I have asked many times in casual conversations: Why are there virtually no stories or photos these days about flying saucers or alien abductions, since the ubiquitous presence of camcorders and cell phone cameras? Then I went on to discuss our modern day version of an unidentified flying object — drones. Let’s leave the topic of drones and ask the question again: Where’s the evidence of alien abductions and flyers saucers, now that almost everyone has a camera on their cell phone? But that has always been the real question, hasn’t it: Where’s the evidence?
Lest I raise the attention of true believers, let me connect the question to what we do as legal investigators: we search for the best evidence to withstand the scrutiny of a trier-of-fact, a jury or a judge, in anticipation of litigation whether or not the case ever gets to trial. Whether we are searching for documentary evidence, witnesses or forensic clues, we cannot accept at face value something revealed during an investigation. A document must be traced to its original source and verified; a witness statement must be subjected to scrutiny and collaboration where possible; crime scene evidence must be analyzed independent of information provided by a prosecutor in a discovery process, for example. We must never forget that we are fact finders, first and foremost, and those facts are often times obscured.
We have been surrounded by a 24-7-365 news cycle since the advent of cable television, and that has only proliferated with the internet. Now we are also surrounded by the phenomena of social media and its multiple and rapidly expanding platforms. Questionable “news” sources and prolific social media posters outpace the ability of crime scene technicians and investigators to process an incident, or for serious journalists to offer concise and accurate expositions for a story. Horrific crimes and far reaching frauds grab national attention. An outraged public demands immediate and fast action to punish a criminal or to prosecute a pernicious grifter. The public at large is inundated with biased opinions and sketchy, incomplete details that can lead to wrong conclusions, which in turn can poison the well of public opinion. Understandable outrage suddenly takes an ugly turn off the road of reason. Who is asking: Where’s the evidence?
That’s what we do as legal investigators. We ask the questions, we look for the answers; we search for the truth, in all its relevant forms. An opinion or ingrained bias must not cloud our judgment. We must realize that human nature is not always an easy and natural servant of the truth, but as legal investigators we must always let the facts speak for themselves.
We share our expertise not only with our clients, but with each other. Our personal and professional experiences, our training and continuing education evolve around the roles we play not only in the ever-changing legal landscape where we toil, but in the lives we lead. We are the ones who ask … Where’s the evidence?
When you need to know the facts call Trace Investigations at 800-310-8857.