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Working Deep in the Trench: Defense Investigation and Murder Exoneration

Mr. David Asma, Chief Investigator at the Lake County (IL) Public Defender’s office and brother of LSUS speaker Steve Asma, will address the topic, Working Deep in the Trench: Defense Investigation and Murder Exoneration.  Mr. Asma will speak about the often hidden work of criminal defense investigations.  Media accounts of criminal cases often focus on the glamorous players inside the courtroom drama -- prosecutors, judges, police detectives, and attorneys.  But what of those players who work backstage in an effort to “inject” reasonable doubt?  Having worked on behalf of murderers and other marginalized people, , Mr. Asma will discuss notable cases where the defendant was ultimately exonerated.  The insider's view point on defense investigations and the use of reasonable doubt will be discussed, as well as the emotional impact of “working in the trenches” of indigent criminal defense.

Mr. Asma holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology/Criminology from Northern Illinois University.  He has been employed as a criminal defense investigator for the Lake County Public Defender’s Office since 1988 and is currently Supervisor of the Investigations Division.  He is an adjunct instructor at the College of Lake County where he teaches both Sociology and Digital Media.