If you're an attorney with one of those gnawing, dead-end cases, then this maybe just the break you need. Your case has allegations, maybe even a conviction or judgment in place, but no concrete evidence and not enough information to make any headway. Here's how experienced lawyers overcome this problem and turn it into a winning case.
While your case may not be exactly the same as the one we share below, the brick wall you're hitting is. The attorney in this case, a seasoned Idaho public defender, was seemingly backed into a corner by prosecution with conflicting stories and not enough evidence to defend. Instead of plea bargaining a deal, he pulled a card out that more attorneys should and won the case despite the odds. Here we show you how to replicate what he did in your own case.
'Dead-end' Case Story
“Innocent until proven guilty” hardly feels like it when you've been jailed and the DA is pressing charges against you that are false allegations. So it was for Idaho restaurant owner Isaac Licano-Serrano; and while he maintained his innocence that he was acting in self defense, the case was sticky and the DA wasn't letting up.
To any prosecuting attorney, the case was straight forward. On the evening of October 5th, 63 year-old Ricardo Nunez stopped at Licano-Serrano's residence. In the confrontation that ensued, Licano-Serrano shot Nunez in the shoulder. Two hours later he let Nunez go, who then showed up at the local St. Luke's ER for treatment. The charges to be filed: kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder.
File those charges they did, and further painted a grim picture of 37 year-old Licano-Serrano. After all, Licano-Serrano had just recently discovered that Nunez was having an affair with his wife. Therefore, he lured Nunez to his house, held him hostage, and attempted to murder him. Then, Licano-Serrano tried to flee to Mexico (more on this below). Though this wasn't the truth, that story sounded good and the deck was stacked against him in court.
Licano-Serrano did fire the gun in self defense, but without hard evidence, how could his attorney prove it?
Fortunately for Licano-Serrano, his public defender was an astute lawyer who wasn't willing to throw in the towel for a plea bargain. Instead, he requested the county allocate funds and allow him to hire a private investigator to review the case in order to provide a fair defense to the defendant.
This move by Licano-Serrano's attorney not only broke down that dead-end 'brick wall', it also shed new light on the case that completely changed the game in court.
Licano-Serrano's attorney called our office at Steadfast PI, a Boise based private investigation firm, asking us to provide an independent investigation of the case. After reviewing the case file, we tracked down and re-interviewed all witnesses of the incident, and also identified and interviewed witnesses law enforcement had previously overlooked.
Based on our investigation, the case against Licano-Serrano was dismissed, here's what really happened...
Now the true story: Ricardo Nunez was a mechanic on a local farm and had stopped into Licano-Serrano's house to work on a car, contrary to prosecution's story of being lured. Nunez was more than just 'having an affair' with restaurant owner's wife, he was stocking and harassing her. While at the house, Nunez attacked Licano-Serrano, forcing the younger man to defend himself, which he did by shooting his attacker in the shoulder. Nunez later drove himself to the local ER and told authorities he had been ambushed by several men, mentioning nothing of Licano-Serrano.
Licano-Serrano, a US citizen and 28 year resident of Idaho, had a family vacation planned for Mexico with a stop first at the Lagoon amusement park in Utah. Contrary to prosecution's story of fleeing, he was simply keeping his already scheduled vacation plan when prosecutors filed charges 10 days later and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Without the aid of a private investigator to reveal the truth, Lecano-Serrano's attorney was at a dead-end with the defendant facing time in prison for attempted murder - something he didn't do. (See the news reports here.)
Any seasoned attorney knows that a reputable private investigator has an advantage in the courtroom. No matter whose hired them, an investigator's mission is to find the truth and prove what really happened regardless of who it points to. If the defendant is guilty – they'll say so, if prosecution and law enforcement are trying to hang the innocent, they'll prove it. No sugar coating, no hiding or disguising things, just tell it like it is. This makes them an authoritative resource during trial whose voice the court can trust in the midst of opposing allegations.
Aside from being an independent expert the court can trust, a private investigator can be qualified as a witness and testify during trial. The impact this testimony can have on the outcome of a case is huge.
No matter what kind of case, civil or criminal, a reputable private investigator is a winning attorney's 'right-hand man'. In business mergers we verify assets and perform background investigations on partners, in civil lawsuits we provide detailed incident investigations, in child custody cases we investigate allegations regarding one parent or the other (more on that here) – and the list could go on forever: construction (see that here), employment, insurance, medical, etc. Experienced attorneys keep a private investigator on speed dial because they know a good investigator can turn most dead-end cases around with information that nobody else can provide them.
Based in the Boise area, we're a reputable private investigation firm that assists attorneys throughout all of Southern Idaho. We provide professional investigations for civil and criminal cases, enabling attorneys to adequately represent their clients and ensure a just outcome.
Till next time!
Ben Pearson CPI
Steadfast Private Investigations