American Bar Association (ABA)
ABA Guidelines in Death Penalty Cases: requires "high quality investigation".
"The assistance of an investigator who has received specialized training is indispensable to discovering and developing the facts that must be unearthed at trial or in post-conviction proceedings. Although some investigative tasks, such as assessing the credibility of key trial witnesses, appropriately lie within the domain of counsel, the prevailing national standard of practice forbids counsel from shouldering primary responsibility for the investigation. Counsel lacks the special expertise required to accomplish the high quality investigation to which a capital defendant is entitled and simply has too many other duties to discharge in preparing the case. Moreover, the defense may need to call the person who conducted the interview as a trial witness. As a result, an investigator should be part of the defense team at every stage of a capital proceeding."
National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)
NLADA Performance Standards for Criminal Defense Attorneys
Guidelines 4.1 Investigation
"(a) Counsel has a duty to conduct an independent investigation regardless of the accused's admissions or statements to the lawyer of facts constituting guilt. The investigation should be conducted as promptly as possible."
"Counsel has a duty to investigate a case before recommending that a guilty plea be taken or sought."
"Counsel may not sit idly by thinking that investigation may be futile."
"The failure to investigate can lead to embarrassing post-conviction claims of ineffective assistance of counsel that you can avoid by having a specialized expert in criminal defense investigation appointed to your case."
Alabama Capital Defense Trial Manual
Chapter Four, B. Investigator for Guilt/Innocence Phase, Page 50.
"One of the most important resources to secure early is investigative assistance. Generally, attorneys do not have the extensive training or practice in investigations. Trained investigators have learned successful interview techniques and possess skills that can be invaluable to the defense to locate and interview witnesses, analyze the State's evidence, and explore possible defenses...Therefore, the defense must request that the trial court appoint a defense investigator to assist with the guilt/innocence phase issues in the case. These requests are typically made ex parte so that counselor does not have to reveal defense strategy to the State while justifying funds."
To Answer This Question, Let's Ask:
"Criminal cases should be viewed as a puzzle and carefully examined. Like a puzzle, every piece of the investigation, no matter how large or small, should be compared to the 'big picture.' However, before attempting to put the puzzle together, one must be sure to have all the pieces."
-Brandon A. Perron in Uncovering Reasonable Doubt
Do You Need A Criminal Defense Investigator?