We all know about Private Investigators. The classic stereotype evokes images of guys in seedy clothes, toting cigarettes, coffee cups, donuts, and six-shooters. They’re the guys who run the shadows of law enforcement, who seek out criminals in shady alleyways and sneaky backwater pubs. In reality, of course, P.I.s aren’t anything like that, but the classic Humphrey Bogart image has gained them an infamy that cannot be erased from the consciousness of society. Detectives are the “bad boys” of law enforcement, and will do whatever it takes to bring criminals to justice.Despite the stereotype, there actually exists a breed of private investigator that would greatly surprise Bogart fans out there. They are known as Criminal Defense Investigators, and specialize, as their name implies, in helping defend the accused parties in judicial courts.C.D.I.s are usually employed by criminal defense lawyers and/or their clients, the accused parties, to gain evidence for court cases to prove the innocence of the accused party standing trial. They work together against the prosecution to defend their cases. The lawyers, of course, take care of the legal defense procedures in the actual court hearing, but the C.D.I.s are the ones who do the back-end legwork, who gather information and evidence to prove the innocence of their clients.They operate in the same manner as normal P.I.s, employing methods such as surveillance, information gathering, getting testimonies, speaking with law enforcement officers at the scene of the crime, interviewing witnesses (and bringing in those same witnesses to testify in court), doing background checks on all sources of information, and obtaining physical objects to act as hard evidence. The only difference is that they’re working for the defending parties in court, those who stand accused of crime, not for the prosecution as is usually the case with the archetypical P.I.s. To further bolster their client’s claims of innocence, they even work alongside regular law enforcement officers who are involved in their various cases to help uncover the truth of what actually occurred at the scene of the crime. The same applies to other law enforcement related groups such as the fire department, search and rescue teams, paramedics, and forensics officers.One thing that differentiates C.D.I.s from regular P.I.s is that if they obtain enough evidence to prove their client’s innocence early on, they can use this information to help their clients make out of court settlements before an actual court case is filed, thus avoiding any scandals and the tarnished reputations that usually accompany someone’s getting accused of a criminal act. This is very important to their clients, as a person’s reputation tends to suffer from such accusations even in those cases where innocence is proved. Finding a way to determine a client’s innocence before the case even reaches the courts is extremely relevant for C.D.I.s in particular, because oftentimes the clients they take are what society at large would consider to be hard cases – accusations involving rape, murder, homicide, drug dealing, arson, and grand theft. Needless to say, even standing accused of any of the above crimes would be detrimental to a person’s standing in society, no matter the outcome of the court case.This may set the various imaginations of paranoid people out there on fire; images of Evil P.I.s being hired to help mafia bosses clear their cases and such… This is far from the truth, however. The core credo of C.D.I.s is to uncover the truth behind a criminal case, and to present their findings, wether positive or negative, to the defense lawyers who they’re working with. In cases where the proof actually shows guilt, the defense lawyers can at the very least use the evidence to plead guilty and appeal for a lighter sentence. More often than not though, for the cases that show innocence, the defense party can use the gathered material to help strengthen their case substantially and clear the name of their innocent clients.C.D.I.s are not there to help criminals avoid justice and their deserved punishment. They are there to uncover the truth, and to defend those who stand wrongfully accused of crime, to help innocent people avoid condemnation and subsequent legal reprisals. They are there to gather information primarily in the defense of those innocents, that they may clear their names without a shadow of a doubt from the stain that inevitably follows getting a criminal record. Innocent until proven guilty is more than just a classic line we’ve all heard from movies and media. It is the very backbone of society’s judicial system.The C.D.I.s are the enforcers of this credo.