Outstanding in His Field: Selevitch Receives Innocence Program’s Investigator Award

Robert Selevitch has had a distinguished career in the field of private investigation for 40 years. He has worked on some of the state’s most high-profile cases.

Selevitch was honored in a ceremony on Nov. 17 with the Massachusetts Innocence Program’s Committee for Public Counsel Services’ prestigious “Investigator Award” for outstanding investigative service.

Lisa M. Kavanaugh, director of the Innocence Program, lauded Selevitch’s excellent work for the agency and his overall professionalism while investigating cases and helping people.

“Rob has been an integral member of the Innocence Program team for many years,” said Kavanaugh. “His investigative work on two cases in particular was absolutely integral to our success in convincing the DA in both cases to assent to our motions for a new trial and to the dismissal of the charges. Thank you, Rob, for all you do.”

 The two individuals whom Selevitch assisted had been incarcerated for 38 and 41 years respectively.

“It was very gratifying to help these men,” said Selevitch. “I know I have a purpose in life.”

Selevitch described the award recognition as “one of the highlights of my career.”

Selevitch, 66, worked in the investigation unit for the U.S. military and later for the Department of the Defense before starting his own private investigation firm.

A lifelong Revere resident and 1972 graduate of Revere High School, Selevitch has two children, Sara Selevitch and Steven Selevitch. Sara is a graduate of Emerson College and holds a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of Art. She is a writer. Steven is a graduate of Syracuse University and works for BNY Mellon.

“I have two great kids who are really doing well,” said Selevitch. “The Revere Public School did very well for my kids.”

Following is the text of Robert Selevitch’s award acceptance speech:

Thank you, Richard. Thank you for the kind words. the first thing I want to say is how honored I am to be here tonight receiving this award. I know there are many incredibly talented and dedicated criminal defense investigators across the state, any number of whom have done things worthy of this award. 

I also want to talk briefly about the job Richard Slowe has done as the chief investigator of the public defender division. While many indigent defendants have never heard the name Richard Slowe, many owe him a debt of gratitude. As chief investigator Richard Slowe has advocated for and developed training programs and initiated best practice protocols that have elevated the performance of every criminal defense investigator in the state. The improved skill set of the investigators has a direct correlation to better outcomes for our clients. Thank you Richard for your leadership. It all ties together.

I have been blessed to work with incredible lawyers throughout my career, both as a private investigator in Massachusetts and while working at Committee for Public Counsel Services. The attorneys were all different in the way they approached their jobs, but the one thing the great ones all have is a determination to get it right…to give every client the opportunity for a fair trial, often in the face of daunting odds.

I work in two separate and distinct divisions within CPCS. I am the staff investigator for the Middlesex County Trial Unit where I investigate serious felonies for public defenders in Middlesex County. I am also a regional supervising investigator where I supervise 11 criminal defense investigators in Boston, Roxbury, Lawrence, Lowell, and Framingham for the public defender division.

For the past several years I have also been the lead investigator for the Innocence program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where I work with with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of legal professionals who fight injustice every day. We have had tremendous success at the Innocence Program, and I’ve had the honor to have participated in a dozen exoneration cases – changing lives never gets old. 

In that capacity I work with two of the fiercest fighters for justice I have ever had the pleasure to team with –  Lisa Kavanaugh, the director of the Innocence Program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Carolyn McGowan, the attorney in charge of the Somerville trial unit. They have provided the leadership that is instrumental to my success, as well as successful outcomes for our clients. They lead by example, and the attorneys that work with them see the example being set and they respond by zealously advocating for their clients. It all ties together.

Being able to collaborate with great lawyers is awesome. When it clicks, it’s like listening to a symphony to me, all the parts fit and tie together. With people like Richard, Lisa and Carolyn conducting, the musicians in the orchestra are free to open their hearts and play the songs they love.

Yes, I have been truly blessed in my life. I have a family who love and support me, friends who are loyal and encouraging, and a career that has brought me tremendous personal satisfaction.

Confucius says choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. The fact that the job I chose can have such a profound effect on the lives of others is very gratifying. I know what Tom Brady feels when he hoists the Super Bowl trophy over his head in victory. Watching exonerees, like Fred Clay, Ray Champagne, and a dozen others we’ve gotten released, walk out those doors is an incredible feeling. Changing lives for the better is so gratifying. I can’t wait until we do it again. Thank you. Good night.

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