News 07.19.07

Congressional panel hears testimony on criminal informants

A hearing this morning of two U.S. House of Representatives judiciary subcommittees featured the testimony of several national experts on the use of criminal informants by police. Among those testifying was Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Her written testimony advocates for better oversight on the use of criminal informants:

The government’s use of criminal informants is largely secretive, unregulated, and unaccountable. This is especially true in connection with street crime and urban drug enforcement. This lack of oversight and quality-control leads to wrongful convictions, more crime, disrespect for the law, and sometimes even official corruption. At a minimum, we need more data on and better oversight of this important public policy.

Read Natapoff’s

full written testimony

(PDF) or an abstract of her January article from the University of Cincinnati Law Review: “

Snitching: The Institutional and Communal Consequences

Read testimony of

other witnesses

at today’s hearing.

Read a

blog post about today’s hearing

on the Texas criminal justice blog Grits for Breakfast.

Read more about how snitches and informants can contribute to wrongful convictions in our

Understand the Causes section

.

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