Nicholas J. Babel Private Investigator

The 5 W’s & The H: Why Attorney’s Need a Good Investigator

Most everyone has heard of some variation of the 5 W’s and their friend the big H. Who, What, When, Where, Why, & How? These of course are the key to a successful investigation. Scholars, investigators, and writers can argue on which of these is the most important aspect when working a case and I think the answer, like most answers, falls in a gray area.

Details matter, the Who, as in who is involved in the case, the What, as in what happened exactly, the When, when did this take place, the Where, as in where did this take place? Those are the basic details and if you can’t lock that stuff down with some certainty it makes the other W & the H a lot harder if not impossible to figure out completely.

Now we move onto the Why, as in Why did this happen? It’s a big question really. A part of the Why falls on a motive. Motives can be circumstantial at best and can often lead to a lot of that tricky gray area that some people have trouble wrapping their heads around. Did they do it because they needed money, was it love/hate/jealousy, or is it in the more black and white category that is evil? Sometimes a motive is not necessary depending on the crime. Sometimes things happen, accidents happen, unexpected consequences happen right? A good investigator has trouble with this W the most. People can rationalize most anything. People can even sympathize with a valid excuse that aligns to their specific moral code. A good attorney, Prosecutor or Defense, both lay out their Why’s and they are two separate stories about one specific event. This leads to why it is important to hire a good investigator to work your case.

If you’re a Defense attorney and you want the Judge or the Jury to hear your narrative of the case, I’m sure they will. If you want that narrative to be backed up by witness statements, character witnesses, alternative suspects, or even putting the timeline of the case into question then you need an investigator who can do all of those things and much more depending on each specific case. Reasonable Doubt is a Defense attorneys’ best friend and hiring an Investigator is the best way to keep that friend close and strong.

Finally, the H of the matter, the How. The how, when you think about it, is some sort of combination of the W’s. The How can be boiled down to the timeline of the event/crime. The How can be “How did this happen, How could someone do this?” While the Why is more open to interpretation and conjecture the How becomes the full story, at least the full story as you propose it. Hiring a competent Investigator for your Defense team is liking hiring a non-fiction writer/author for your story. Often times the side that is telling the most compelling story is the side that gets their audience, the Judge, the Jury, on their side.

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