Help Protect the Innocent from Unreliable Jailhouse Informants

Help Protect the Innocent from Unreliable Jailhouse Informants

UPDATE: Thanks to your voice, the Connecticut Legislature passed SB 1098 preventing wrongful convictions involving jailhouse informants!

Alfred Swinton was exonerated last year after spending 16 years in prison for a rape and murder that he didn’t commit.

Compelling testimony used to convict Swinton came from a jailhouse informant named Michael Scalise who claimed that Swinton had confessed to him while they were in jail together in 1991 after Swinton’s initial arrest. At that time, a judge had determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Swinton, but seven years later, after the case had gone cold, Swinton was arrested again based on new allegations from the jailhouse informant that Swinton had confessed years ago.

After telling police that Swinton had confessed, Scalise was outfitted with a concealed wire to secretly record conversations with Swinton but on those recordings Swinton did not make any incriminating statements and instead continued to profess his innocence. Nevertheless, Scalise still testified at trial that Swinton had admitted to the crime. Scalise denied getting an explicit promise of a reduced sentence or other benefits in exchange for his testimony, even though he was ultimately released early.

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