“The single most bragged about aspect of our U.S. Justice System is, ‘Innocent until proven guilty.’  Unfortunately, the presumption of innocence is easily forgotten when a defense investigator knocks on one’s door and asks for a witness statement.  Many need to be reminded of this fundamental element of due process as outlined in our Constitution.”  Sylvia Palma, CCDI, PI

Company History

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Founded and licensed in the state of California in 1992 by Sylvia Palma, a Native American private investigator and former United States Army Military Police Officer, Palma & Palma Investigations LLC serves the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Sylvia began her career in 1985 while stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas where she was recruited by the Provost Marshal to join a team of investigators that specialized in the investigation of domestic violence, child abuse, juvenile crimes, and the intervention of suicides.

After an honorable discharge in 1987, she worked as a private investigator in California, New Mexico, and Washington State conducting criminal, civil, and workers’ compensation investigations. She also worked as an instructor of Private Investigations at Santa Fe Community College as part of its Criminal Justice Program.

Since 2002, Palma & Palma Investigations has served on the panel of investigators for the San Mateo County Private Defender Program, the Santa Clara Legal Aid Society, Contra Costa Criminal Conflict Program, and the San Francisco Indigent Defense Program. Clients are primarily attorneys at law;  a smaller percentage is composed of private clients and businesses. Investigations range from general investigative assignments to more involved projects such as gang murders and carjackings.   Depending upon the scope of the assignments, these investigations often involve traveling out of state and sometimes out of the country.

Beginning in 2018, Sylvia Palma served as the Chief Investigator of the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office. Sylvia viewed working with the dedicated and talented team of investigators and public defender attorneys, as some of the most meaningful public work to date. Returning solely to private investigative work in the field, has enabled her to make an even greater contribution to assisting those in need through the application of her life’s work in the legal arena.


Privately owned, the company utilizes a combination of database searches, on-site criminal, and civil court records research, deep-dive social media online investigative research, as well as a network of licensed investigators throughout the State of California, the nation, and the world.

Sylvia Palma’s unique and adaptive approach to interviews allows for successful trial preparation in both civil and criminal cases. Her ability to obtain difficult-to-discuss information from sensitive witnesses often provides clients with much-needed information that is helpful in negotiating claims with insurance companies, supporting effective case strategies, and negotiating plea bargains with District Attorneys in the interest of justice.


Insurance & Licensure

Palma & Palma Investigations is licensed by the state of California, license #15394, and carries General Liability Insurance, Errors and Omissions, up to $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 aggregate.

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