Unlike witnesses, informants are motivated by self-advancement. Informants work for the government, often secretly, to gather and provide information or to testify in exchange for cash or leniency in punishment for their own crimes. Preliminary research indicates that up to 80% of all drug cases in America may be based on information provided by informants.
An informant can be a useful law enforcement tool – a necessary evil – if used properly.
But putting police work in the hands of known criminals and blindly trusting that justice will be done is an unnecessary evil.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Unnecessary Evil: ACLU launches campaign to limit snitching
National ACLU's Drug Law Reform Project (DLRP) has launched a website to promote a campaign against law enforcement abuses related to confidential informants, including a new blog devoted to the subject. (As a self promoting aside, this project first began based on work here on Grits back when I still worked for the organization.) DLRP also compiled examples of policies from federal state and local agencies related to informants along with other resources, and is soliciting stories from the public about snitching-related abuses. From the overview: