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The Champion

December 2010 , Page 45 

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Requesting and Using Investigative Assistance

By Thomas J. Farrell

The U.S. Supreme Court recognized a due process right to expert assistance at court cost in Ake v. Oklahoma.1 Courts have construed Ake to require the state to provide an indigent defendant with any expert services necessary to present an adequate defense.2 In an Alabama case, Dubose v. State, the court held that the principles enunciated in Ake apply in a case involving nonpsychiatric expert assistance.3 Most courts include investigators within the meaning of nonpsychiatric experts.4 

Preparing the Motion To Show Need

Many jurisdictions have statutes providing for the appointment of an expert or investigator for an indigent defendant under certain conditions. These conditions often require the defendant to provide a statement of the circumstances requiring an investigator, a proffer of the evidence you expect to obtain through the investigator’s services, and an estimate of the cost.5 An attorney can undertake the investigation before obtaining court approval and h

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