Private investigations could play a role in Connecticut habeas corpus petitions. You can learn more about private investigations and habeas here.
If the habeas petition alleges that defense counsel showed deficiency because counsel failed to adequately investigate the facts or locate an exculpatory witness, habeas counsel must retain a private investigator to do what defense counsel did not do. This should happen without delay because the investigation may give rise to additional and unforeseen activities—things that take time. Habeas counsel cannot be left with too little time to complete the investigation, thus jeopardizing the habeas case.
Further, without a private investigation the petitioner cannot satisfy Strickland’s prejudice prong. This happens because he cannot show what the results would have been if defense counsel had not been negligent. See Holley v. Commissioner , 62 Conn. App. 170, 175 (2001)(“The burden to demonstrate what benefit additional investigation would have revealed must come from the petitioner”). The habeas case will best be served if the private investigator has a law enforcement background. Also, it can happen if a person has prior experience conducting investigations in criminal cases. It also works best if the investigator has a familiarity with the town or city where the crime occurred.
If the petitioner does not have the funds to hire a private investigator, request should go to the Office of Chief Public Defender (OCPD), 30 Trinity Street, 4th FL, Hartford, CT 06106; telephone 860-509-6400, for permission to obtain an investigator at OCPD’s expense. This happens even in a case where habeas counsel got privately retained.
In addition to requesting OCPD to fund the private investigation, counsel can file a motion (ex parte and under seal if necessary) with the habeas court, seeking court authorization to employ an investigator at state expense, pursuant to the federal and state constitutions and Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985).
Do you still have questions about habeas corpus petitions? If so, check out the other pages on our website about habeas corpus. We have a lot of content that could answer your question. Alternatively, it is a good idea to talk about your legal situation with an attorney.