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Death is Different


Mitigation and investigation often overlap on death penalty qualified cases. It is essential to have a fact investigator who can identify facts and collect information on a client’s life history simultaneously. A good fact investigator can also contribute to painting a picture of the client’s life.  


Genograms are an important tool when providing assistance to a death penalty qualified client. When constructing a family tree it is important to get family properly identified and located. Family can also be non-biological relations, such as babysitters and close family friends. 


Fundamental understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s). Going into an interview an investigator has to recognize the 10 adverse childhood experiences. The CDC-Kaiser study notes: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, exposure to domestic violence, household substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and an incarcerated family member. 


Working with neuropsychs and mental health experts in an effort to timeline a client’s life history. An experienced investigator can assist in identifying atypical traumatic moments in a client’s life and spot incidents that are clues to developmental delays. 


Crime mapping is often used when providing assistance to death penalty qualified clients. It is often referred to as a chaos map. Investigators can identify and locate former residences and provide photographs to tell a rich history. 


Defense Initiated Victim Outreach (DIVO). An investigator with attention to detail can be of great assistance to DIVO qualified outreach which can be used in a death penalty qualified cases.

Fact investigators are key in helping identify generational trauma when conducting interviews. These significant moments need to be documented and explored.

Criminal defense investigators also need to stay up to date on the most current technology. Consistent training is required and will be reflected in the CV section. 

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