What Do Civil Rights Investigators Do?

When a person comes across a situation in which their rights have been violated in some fashion, they can advocate for themselves by pursuing litigation and seeking justice in court. Doing this often requires working with a skilled attorney familiar with any relevant laws, rights, and legal processes. However, to build a successful case, attorneys rely on one crucial element: evidence. Even if their client is clearly in the right, it can be extremely difficult to get the desired resolution without the evidence to prove so in court. This is especially true in cases involving violations of civil rights, where the offenders are particularly motivated to obscure the true nature of the altercation, as even the mere accusation of being a perpetrator in a civil rights case can be extremely damaging in terms of their reputation. In such a situation, working with a civil rights investigator can be the answer to all of your problems.

To gain a complete understanding of what civil rights investigators do and why they are so vital, it’s essential to first gain some background on civil rights cases. These cases tend to have unique challenges because of their inherently incendiary and emotional nature. It is natural to feel motivated to see that the parties responsible are appropriately punished for their actions, but this can only happen if the actions taken were genuinely unlawful. So, what exactly does the law have to say about civil rights, and how offenders of those rights can be dealt with?

What Are Civil Rights?

“Civil right” is a term used to describe what an individual is allowed or entitled to do by law. Enforcement of the law within this particular context is done to protect people’s freedoms. At the heart of civil rights is the idea of fairness and equality, ensuring that all the individuals covered by such laws are presented with equal opportunities to succeed.

One of the earliest examples of civil rights being acknowledged in a legal document in the United States is a line from the Declaration of Independence, which states that people have the following inaliénable rights: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Such a statement aimed to promote the equal right to a thriving existence amongst the populace. While this and other aspects of the document are not presently considered to have legal merit, they have often served as the foundation upon which other laws are created.

Nowadays, there is a large array of civil rights laws to identify in concrete terms exactly what rights are owed to each individual. Modern legislation also acknowledges certain changes that have taken place since those initial thoughts of equality were first echoed, such as abolishing slavery and the growing acceptance of various sexualities. However, the law is a complex topic. Some civil rights laws apply on a federal level across the nation, while others are specific to individual states. In-depth knowledge of what rights are protected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and to what extent is critical when going through the process of a civil rights case.

What Does the Office of Civil Rights Enforce?

Civil rights violations can occur in various contexts and involve perpetrators from all sorts of backgrounds. The party responsible could merely be another citizen, a business owner, an employer, or even a law enforcement official. Regardless, the Office of Civil Rights is tasked with enforcing civil rights laws in court. This includes those observed under federal law, those regarding conscience and religious freedom, laws regarding HIPAA compliance and general privacy, and general rights regarding nondiscrimination. Essentially, you can challenge in court instances where people are subject to harassment, are treated differently, or are denied access to goods or services based on a protected part of their identities (race, religion, gender, sexuality, or physical ability), as well as for breaches in their ability to access private information and property.

Concrete examples of civil rights complaints where the Office of Civil Rights might be involved include situations where a landlord decides to deny your application for an apartment because they harbor reservations against you based on your religion. An employer choosing not to hire a woman for a position because they think men make better employees would qualify as well, and so would being singled out by a police officer merely because you happen to have a different skin color.

Why Are Civil Rights Cases So Challenging?

Any sort of confrontation can be difficult, especially in a legal setting, as victims are asked to re-experience their trauma over and over again during court proceedings. However, the situation can become significantly more complicated depending on the identity of the perpetrators. An individual citizen who has violated someone else’s civil rights will be far less prepared to fight back than, for instance, a major corporation or a trusted law enforcement official. The latter examples likely have access to a significant amount of resources and may be willing to do whatever it takes to make the case go away, even if that means tampering with evidence or relying on their connections to powerful allies within the legal system.

As the victim in such a situation, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. That’s why it’s so critical to work with a skilled civil rights investigator. A good investigator can effectively level the playing field and ensure that the proceedings rely on nothing more than unbiased facts.

What Is a Civil Rights Investigator?

In brief, a civil rights investigator is a private investigator tasked with helping secure evidence for legal situations involving a potential violation of civil rights. Unlike attorneys or other members of a legal team, civil rights investigators are fully dedicated to this aspect of the process. This means that they often have extensive experience relevant to the best way to obtain evidence, successfully discredit any false evidence, and navigate the system so that relevant, helpful evidence can be officially submitted to the court. A comprehensive background in law, a strong network of contacts, and an innate strength in investigative skills are vital parts of being an effective investigator.

What Is a Civil Right Investigation?

Civil rights investigations are the way in which a civil rights investigator can contribute to a case. During this process, the investigator can take on several tasks depending on what is most needed for the specific situation at hand. One way that civil rights investigators conduct their investigation is through redundancy. This essentially means collecting evidence that has already been collected, such as having an autopsy done by a different medical examiner, getting additional witness statements, and independently documenting the crime scene. This is particularly effective at ensuring the facts are fairly represented.

Those attempting to tamper with evidence will be discovered throughout this process. This also helps to combat unconscious bias. For example, if the perpetrator is a police officer, they likely have a relationship with the crime scene investigation team. Because of their relationship, the team may inherently assume that the officer is innocent, which can affect how they document the scene, even if it isn’t intentional.

Investigators also have the time, resources, and insight to pursue avenues that others might overlook when it comes to collecting evidence, such as determining a random bystander’s identity at the scene and securing said bystander’s camera footage. The context in the form of statements from other parties not questioned by the police or previous interactions that took place before the altercation can also further support your case.

Not only can the investigator look into the case itself, but they can also look into the history of the offending party involved. With large corporations and trusted officials, it can be challenging to convince others of their involvement based on their past reputation. However, an investigator can dig up documentation that shows a pattern of behavior that is much more difficult to discredit. Investigators can also uncover emails or recorded conversations that show attempts to tamper with evidence or acknowledgments of the incident. All of this contributes to building a strong case.

Working With a Civil Rights Investigator

Private investigators have the unique skills and background necessary to ensure that you are adequately equipped to go up against any violator of civil rights in a court of law, no matter how many connections or resources they have. Not only are they extremely skilled at obtaining evidence, but they’re also extremely knowledgeable of the law and can do so in a lawful manner while keeping an eye out for unlawful behavior from the opposition. Whether you have personally had your rights violated or are part of a legal team handling a civil rights violation case, working with the right civil rights investigator can help you achieve your desired resolution. To get started with an initial consultation, contact the team at Amatrix Investigations today. With over 20 years of investigative experience, we can ensure the case is handled with diligence and with full respect for your privacy or the privacy of your client.

How Do Criminal Investigations Work?

Amatrix Investigations is a private investigation firm in Los Angeles. Our team has a solid track record of playing very active and pivotal roles in criminal defense investigations. While law enforcement at the municipal, state, and even federal levels have substantial resources for investigating criminal activity, private investigation firms like Amatrix Investigations provide critical support. Our additional investigative resources can aid a wrongfully accused or overcharged individual facing conviction.

We work with criminal defense attorneys and Pro Per clients throughout Southern California to bring greater balance to California’s criminal justice system. Police and other law enforcement agencies pursue criminal convictions quite aggressively. Unfortunately, the drive to secure swift convictions often leads to innocent people facing charges they do not deserve. We believe it’s vital for everyone to understand how criminal investigations work and the role that private investigation firms like Amatrix Investigations play in the process.

What are the steps in a criminal investigation?

Law enforcement and government agents have much more freedom when it comes to the pre-arrest investigation. They have the right to cordon off crime scenes and gather physical evidence, whereas private investigators do not. Private investigators cannot trespass on private property or enter a crime scene the police control. They cannot arrest or intimidate suspects, and they cannot access many of the digital resources that the police and government agents typically use in their investigations. However, the fundamental investigative techniques employed by Amatrix Investigations have proven invaluable in countless cases helping the wrongfully accused avoid unjust punishment. Private investigators often play crucial roles in the pre-trial investigation phase, but their participation in criminal investigations also extends further into most cases.

It is also important to remember that a private investigation firm like Amatrix Investigations can help an individual facing a wrongful accusation of a crime. Unfortunately, some law enforcement officials are so aggressive in pursuing convictions they refuse to consider (and sometimes even hide) exculpatory evidence so they can save time and resources on their investigation efforts while inflating their conviction record.

Once the police make an arrest in a criminal investigation, the suspect is booked and must make an initial appearance. The court will read the charges against the suspect and advise them of their constitutional right to counsel and their right to remain silent. At this point, the prosecution process begins. However, this does not necessarily mean the investigation is over. If a suspect hires a criminal defense attorney, their legal team may coordinate with a private investigation firm to locate any evidence that could lead to reduced or dropped charges for their client.

What Are the Three Methods of Investigation?

The criminal investigation process of virtually any crime is complex and multifaceted. While many crimes lead to open-and-shut cases, these incidents require clear evidence of a suspect’s guilt and readily available corroborating evidence that proves the suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not uncommon for some criminal investigations to extend well beyond the investigators’ initial impressions of the case. Law enforcement must fully employ every investigative technique at their disposal. While private investigators do not have the same level of authority or the same resources as law enforcement officials, they must also fully leverage the investigative techniques at their disposal possible.

The police and private investigators typically rely on three main methods of investigating criminal activity:

Evidence Gathering

Evidence gathering is one of the most crucial forms of investigation. This can involve physical examination of the crime scene, the body of the victim, and other material evidence involved in the matter. Depending on the type of crime in question, evidence gathering may also involve deep fact-finding and research to uncover documentation material to the case. Typically, private investigators do not have physical access to most crime scenes. However, this does not mean they cannot use their investigative skills to carefully review crime scene reports and photographs, sometimes identifying evidence that the police overlooked.

One of the most important aspects of evidence gathering is determining admissibility. There are strict laws in place that aim to preserve due process and ensure that all investigative authorities follow the letter of the law as they conduct their investigative work. There have been many occasions in which official investigators have planted or obfuscated evidence to streamline their conviction processes, which often leads to severe criminal penalties for those involved in due process violations. Private investigators must also follow the law, and typically they rely on evidence gathering through careful review of evidence already gathered by police.

Witness Interviews

Interviewing witnesses is another key component of any criminal investigation. This may involve interviewing the complaining witness and direct witnesses to the event in question as well as bystanders who saw some or all of the crime occur. The police will take statements from witnesses they identify during pre-arrest investigation and may need to double back and confirm witnesses’ stories as their investigation unfolds. Private investigators can also conduct witness interviews on behalf of the criminal defense firms who hire them and may even identify other witnesses. For example, a local business owner near a crime scene may have CCTV footage that the police failed to obtain, and this footage could be a deciding factor in the criminal case that unfolds.

While the police have broader authority when it comes to locating and interviewing witnesses, private investigators can also uncover solid evidence through their own interviews. Again, private investigators are not above the law and are private citizens, but they have the experience and resources to sometimes uncover evidence and witness testimony that police and government agents may have overlooked.

Surveillance

Surveillance is another of the most important tools of criminal investigation. Police and law enforcement agencies at all levels may conduct “stakeouts” and surveil points of interest related to a criminal investigation to help them locate and identify suspects and evidence. Private investigators can also use these tools and typically do so in a more flexible manner than the police. Experienced private investigators like the team at Amatrix Investigations are accustomed to blending in with crowds and surveilling persons or places of interest with minimal exposure.

Surveillance can be one of the most critical aspects of an investigation, especially one pertaining to fraud. For example, if an individual is suspected of committing disability or workers’ compensation fraud, a private investigator can help gather evidence that proves their criminal activity.

These three methods are crucial in any criminal investigation. Depending on the nature of the crime, a private investigation firm like Amatrix Investigations will use some or all of these methods to assist in their efforts. It’s important to remember that a private investigator is relatively limited in their investigative methods compared to the police.

Amatrix Investigations leverages years of professional investigative experience and state-of-the-art resources to conduct highly detailed and comprehensive criminal investigations. While private investigators may lack some of the tools and the authority of law enforcement officials, their investigative efforts often prove pivotal in highly complex criminal investigations.

Benefits of Working With a Private Investigator

Private investigators must follow the letter of the law while conducting their investigative activities. Criminal defense firms throughout the country typically form lasting professional relationships with private investigators to help them protect and defend their clients. Private investigators often provide the evidence these attorneys need to help their clients avoid unjust charges, especially when law enforcement is driven to secure a conviction as soon as possible regardless of any evidence indicating they have the wrong suspect.

If you are accused of a crime, it is imperative to secure legal representation from a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you believe that the police are refusing to consider exculpatory evidence, a private investigator could be the lifeline you and your legal team need to prove your innocence. If you happen to become a victim of any type of crime, working with a private investigator can effectively supplement the police’s investigation. If you have specific questions about how a private investigator can help in your unique case, contact Amatrix Investigations today for more information about our services.