A. Perron, FCI
Certified Criminal Defense Investigator
The need to standardize and develop an
investigative philosophy and methodology specific to the discipline of
criminal defense investigation has been the subject of much research and
debate. The answer to the
problem was culminated by a joint effort between the public defender
system and the private investigation profession.
The Component Method was developed to provide public defender
investigators and private sector investigators with a formula for
conducting successful and comprehensive criminal defense assignments.
The Component Method utilizes accepted and proven investigative
procedure in an easy to follow format.
Each component of the investigation process is designed to
uncover leads and develop questions leading to the next component.
The subsequent components support the investigator’s efforts to
track leads and answer questions developed in previous components. Utilization of the Component Method allows the criminal
defense investigator to begin and end an investigation with the
knowledge and confidence that an effective and professional
investigation was completed.
Component Method also performs well as a management tool.
Senior investigators maintaining supervisory roles, as well as
the responsibility of a significant caseload, are able to utilize the
system to monitor the progress of subordinates.
Historically, the problems associated with “passing the
torch” of experience to entry-level criminal defense investigators has
been a significant problem. Adherence
to a specific methodology allows the supervisor and field investigator
to cultivate and pursue a team approach while still allowing for
individual critical and creative thinking.
The Component Method provides a general course of action while
conducting comprehensive assignments.
Utilizing this methodology provides an understanding between the
supervisor and field investigator regarding expectations and the general
course of inquiry.
six components of criminal defense investigation defining the Component
Method are as follows;
Investigative Case Review & Analysis
2. The Defendant Interview
3. Crime Scene Examination, Diagrams & Photography
4. Victim/Witness Background Investigations
5. Witness Interviews & Statements
6. Report of Investigation & Testifying
Component Method also reinforces the investigator’s role as the
primary investigator in control of the course of the investigation.
Utilization of resources such as forensic experts and specialists
to support the primary investigator and his pursuit of the truth is also
explored. In addition, the
investigator’s responsibility as a thinker and strategist is discussed
on an intellectual as well as practical level.
The Component Method maintains that the investigator must assume
a position as an impartial and objective advocate of the truth.
A position that requires discipline, integrity, and an unwavering
sense of honor.
Component Method is intended to be a guide to assist the criminal
defense investigator in the course of his investigation. Utilizing the Component Method as a reference source for
fundamental information, techniques, and skills will enable the criminal
defense investigator to perform assigned tasks effectively and
efficiently. The Component
Method can be utilized as a preliminary or comprehensive plan. The individual components can be limited or expanded to
conform to the specific needs of each case.
Proper execution of the Component Method will allow the criminal
defense investigator to submit his final report with the confidence that
a thorough investigation was accomplished.
The report of investigation documenting the criminal defense
investigator’s findings will allow defense counsel to develop a
defense strategy based upon facts and not abstract theory or conjecture.
Subsequently, defense counsel may request additional
investigation based upon initial findings, investigative
recommendations, or supplemental discovery.
development of a philosophy and methodology for the discipline of
criminal defense investigation elevates the profession to a level it
deserves. Failure to accept
dedicated guidelines will only continue to maintain the discipline as a
subordinate to law enforcement criminal investigation.
Criminal defense investigators must unite and declare themselves
as specialists who maintain a philosophy as impartial and objective
advocates of the truth. The
monumental responsibilities associated with the discipline demand no
Brandon Perron developed the Component Method
and authored Uncovering Reasonable Doubt.
The Component Method has been accepted by the Florida State
University and Community College System and is now the subject of a
college course, which has been integrated into the Criminal Justice
Degree Program. Also
important to note is the fact that the course is endorsed by a Certified
Florida Criminal Justice Institute, The Criminal Defense Investigation
Training Council, and by Public Defender Agencies in Florida,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Montana.