Monday, November 20, 2006

Natapoff: snitching can be "crime producing and corrupting"; CA snitch recommendations due out today

For those interested in the subject of "snitching," a recurring Grits topic, read Loyola (CA) law prof Sasha Natapoff's op ed from yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle. Here's a snippet:
When used properly, informants can be a powerful and appropriate investigative tool. But they can also be destructive, crime-producing and corrupting. The widespread use of informants means that much of the real adjudicative process takes place underground, without rules, records or lawyers, and without public or judicial scrutiny of the fairness and accuracy of the process.
Good stuff, as always. Natapoff points to new reform proposals on snitching due out today. "The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice will release its report and recommendations on the government's use of criminal informants by 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 20. Go to:" Good tip! Indeed, there's already quite a bit of interesting looking material at that link I haven't seen.

If any Texas legislators or staff are looking for good bills to file, Texas has a lot of these same problems. For more background, see prior Grits posts on snitching and the November Coalition's resource page on the topic.

1 comment:

AlanBean said...

Interesting that the Chronicle story refers to Tulia as an "informant scandal". Tom Coleman, I suppose, was more CI than cop; but officially he was a certified police officer. As commonly used, snitching is a form of uncorroborated testimony--that is the real point of commonality with Tulia. Ruthless prosecutors can shape a crime story by suggesting to a single snitch that they are interested in a certain defendant. Next thing you know, every inmate in the system remembers selling or buying drugs from this guy. Most federal prosecutors avoid this kind of prosecution because the potential for wrongful conviction is so high; but prosecutors like Brett Grayson are building careers on their stable of snitches.