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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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