Private Investigators In Virginia

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Posts Tagged ‘fair trial’

VA HB 1087 Reported Dead (Closed Some Public Records)

Posted by Bill on February 22, 2008

virginia.jpg  The Virginia legislature’s HB 1087 provided “that the social security number of any individual contained in the public records of a local government shall be confidential and exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The bill provides, however, that a social security number may be released (i) in accordance with a proper judicial order; (ii) to any law-enforcement agency, officer, or authorized agent thereof acting in the performance of official law-enforcement duties;”

PIAVA advised the appropriate committees and individual legislators that DCJS licensed security businesses and private investigators should have access to identifying data in court records to ensure “due process of law” and fair trails in civil and criminal litigation matters.  Our reasoning is that a “fair trial” is a constitutional issue.  If the Commonwealth Attorney (Prosecutor) and the law enforcement have access to identifying data in public records, private investigators should have the same access so that a person’s right to a “fair trial” is not compromised. 

PIAVA attended several sub-committee hearings on the bill.  Richmond Sunlight Click Here, reports that HB 1087 was finally referred to the General Laws Committee where it remains today.  They report that the bill is dead. 

PIAVA hopes that the legislature will work to ensure fairness in access to public records while at the same time safeguarding an individual’s right to privacy.  PIAVA is prepared to assist the legislature or offer any helpful information for insight into the private investigation industry.

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Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, Public Records, Research, Virginia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Private Investigator For the Defense

Posted by Bill on December 21, 2007

justice   A Sterling, VA, man, Edward Brown, is charged with aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of aggravated malicious wounding in the Jan. 26 shooting of Kevin Stottlemyer, 22.  Brown’s attorney, William Bassler, filed several motions, one such motion was to hire a private investigator.  Because Bassler is a court appointed attorney, the court must approve funding to hire a private investigator.  The court granted the request for the defense private investigator, but not until after the Commonwealth Attorney’s office objected to the defense hiring a private investigator.  See Winchester Star Article;

Frederick County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Glenn R. Williams objected to the request for the defense to hire a private investigator saying that Bassler, Brown’s defense attorney, had not shown a need for a private investigator.

I don’t know the situation in this case, but I do know that the American Bar Association and Virginia’s Rules of Professional Conduct apply special rules of ethics to public prosecutors.  The Rules provide that the prosecutor’s primary goal is to seek justice, not convict.  The prosecutor must assure that the defendant is tried by fair procedures and that guilt is decided on proper and sufficient evidence.  It seems that the hiring of a private investigator for the defense would assist the defense and the prosecutor in getting a fair trial.  The Commonwealth Attorney’s office should not object to the defense asking the court to hire a private investigator without sufficient and specific reasons

I hope there was sufficient protection in this matter for the defendant to get a fair trial. 

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, Virginia | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »