Saturday, December 29, 2007

No More Secrets - Investigating a Witness

It used to be that to investigate a witness’s background, you needed to hire a private investigator. With the advent and rise of the internet, you can put on Sherlock Holmes’s deerstalker cap and find out unimaginable information about a witness. When searching into a person’s background, consider the following:

Myspace and Facebook. There are several popular sites such as Myspace and Facebook that allow one to post photos, video and personal information of oneself. Many reveal too much about themselves on these websites. Look up a witness on these sites and see if they have their own web page. If they do have one, but it is set to “private,” do a request to be allowed to view it (and also request that it not be changed, so that incriminating evidence is not removed).

Blogs. Just like information sharing sites like Myspace, more and more folks are starting their own blogs or posting to others’ blogs, possibly revealing information relevant to your case.

Alumni associations. High schools and colleges work hard to stay connected with their alumni. If you know where your witness went to school, you might find interesting information at his alma mata’s website.

Google. A simple google search of the witness can pull up a wealth of information, including companies he is associated with, articles he has written and articles written about him.

Westlaw. See if the witness has ever been the party to a published opinion or a published verdict.

Criminal records. There are various sites that allow you to check a witness’s criminal record, including your state’s law enforcement department. You can also check to see if he is in arrears in child support.

Litigation history. Check the local county’s clerk page to see if your witness has ever been involved in litigation and check the local bankruptcy court to see if he has ever filed for bankruptcy.

Odds are that there is valuable information about that key witness on the internet. Take the time to look. You may be surprised by what you find.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another very useful site is LinkedIn.Com. Here you can sign up and network with colleagues in various industries. I like it much more than myspace or facebook because it is much more professional. I am not saying don't do facebook or myspace, but Lawyers have to maintain a certain level of professionalism and linkedin has that built in. It is like a virtual resume which allows you to have clients give you positive references.

Christopher Car