If you have not seen HBO’s latest crime drama, The Night Of, I recommend you check it out. The eight-episode series, which had its finale just last Sunday, follows the story of Nasir ‘Naz’ Khan, a young Pakistani-American college kid from New York who finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time in the worst way.
I do not want to give too much away, but long story short, Naz finds himself on trial for murder with substantial evidence against him. The show traces the complexities of being a Muslim in America, systemic issues with the criminal justice system and a young man’s struggle to prove his innocence when the deck is stacked against him.
Litigation Support Key to Naz’s Trial
While the show twists and turns its way through the themes mentioned above it also hits on a lot of the necessary yet tedious work Naz’s attorneys need to do to prove their client’s innocence. Naz’s attorneys do many things right in the show but also fail to explore some key areas.
- Expert Witnesses Research: The defense did a great job researching the medical examiner’s past performance as an expert witness and discovered he actually gave testimony in a previous trial that resulted in an innocent man going to jail. This helped put a major dent in his credibility. The defense failed, however, to fully research their expert witness’ past statements to ensure they stayed consistent with what he said during his testimony in Naz’s trial.
- Witness Locates: Naz’s attorneys did a great job identifying, locating and interviewing other individuals who crossed paths with the victim before her death — something the detectives involved did not do. By researching property records and using commercial databases, they located witnesses and other potential suspects in the murder and were able to conduct a series of field interviews. This helped the defense provide alternative narratives to the story the prosecution created for Naz and create reasonable doubt.
- Background Investigation: One thing the defense should have considered was conducting more research into Naz’s background. While he was generally a good kid, he had a few issues in his past that his attorneys would have been better prepared to defend if they had known about in advance. That way the prosecution would not have been in a position to surprise them with the information.
Litigation Support in the Real World
While the cases we support typically do not reach the dramatic level of helping defend a person on trial for murder, we use a lot of the same techniques highlighted in the series and mentioned above to assist our clients during litigation. Other ways we assist clients during litigation support include:
- Social Media Research and Analysis: Social media research is often a key part of litigation support for our clients. We use social media in a variety of ways, including finding connections with other suspects or witnesses; learning more about a person’s lifestyle, family, friends, possible assets and whereabouts; or even finding out what people are saying about the case and the issue being litigated.
- Due Diligence Background Investigations: We often conduct background investigations on individuals prior to their depositions so attorneys can learn more about the person they will be deposing. This helps attorneys prepare questions to ask or refute claims the person makes.
- Asset Searches: This is often a crucial first step in civil litigation, helping the client determine if a person is even worth suing. Asset searches can also be helpful after a money judgment is entered.
- Surveillance: Discreet monitoring of a subject is often an excellent way to learn more about his or her behavior, lifestyle, and associates.
Avoid Drama with Good Litigation Support
While the litigation support work conducted in The Night Of made for great drama, we aim to help clients avoid drama. Clients call on us every day to assist in their litigation support efforts prior to, during and even after legal proceedings. At the end of the day we help our clients identify information that is “out there” but that is hard to find or that they do not know about, just as Naz’s lawyers do in The Night Of.