Five Facts You Need to Know About Groundbreaking Jailhouse Informant Law in Illinois

11.28.18 By Innocence Staff

Five Facts You Need to Know About Groundbreaking Jailhouse Informant Law in Illinois

Yesterday, Illinois passed the nation’s strongest bill to prevent wrongful convictions based on false jailhouse informant testimony. Here are five facts you need to know about the new law:

  1. 1. Jailhouse informants are a major cause of wrongful convictions nationally, playing a role in 16 percent of DNA-based exonerations of innocent Americans.
  2. 2. In Illinois, unreliable jailhouse informants were involved in the conviction of 17 innocent people who collectively served over 227 years in prison, costing taxpayers $88.4 million in civil lawsuit payments and state compensation.
  3. 3. Illinois will be the first state in the country to require judges to hold pre-trial reliability hearings before jailhouse informant witness testimony is admissible in murder, sexual assault and arson cases.
  4. 4. The law will also require prosecutors to disclose key evidence regarding jailhouse informant witnesses to the defense, including benefits provided in exchange for testimony, their complete criminal history and their previous jailhouse informant activities.
  5. 5. Illinois will have the strongest law in the country to prevent wrongful convictions involving jailhouse informants. Texas passed a similar law in 2017 that requires tracking and disclosure of key impeachment evidence on jailhouse informants, but Illinois will be the only state with a required pre-trial reliability hearing before jailhouse informant testimony is admissible.

Read more about the law here.

Leave a Reply

Thank you for visiting us. You can learn more about how we consider cases here. Please avoid sharing any personal information in the comments below and join us in making this a hate-speech free and safe space for everyone.

This field is required.
This field is required.
This field is required.

Jon T December 28, 2018 at 9:16 am Reply   

It is beyond overdue to reform our Justice-less system. We have far too many laws for one thing and a myriad of charges for one crime. Of course everything is a felony. In ND if you steal something worth $50 or more it is a felony. Once that has been branded on you good luck with getting a job, voting or hunting. This is justice?

We can follow up with setting free the people that have committed any and all marijuana related ‘crimes’ and clear their record. Imagine this: In Lousiana A young (18) black man committed the heinous act of having a joint on him when he was contacted by the police and it being his 3rd offense is serving life. His other 2 offenses were about the same level as well. He was on his way to college with a full ride scholarship. His poor grandmother lost her house under the Civil Asset Forfeiture law. His story is one of many.

We must pump the breaks and pressure our greedy paid off corrupt politicians to do the right thing.

WE need to make radical changes to lobbying. There are no logical benefits to us to have politicians paid off especially when it comes to them getting rich off of the ones who can least afford it or deserve it. Mitch McConnell received $500k to support incarceration. WTH is wrong with us that we allow that and more.

Timothy Gray November 29, 2018 at 10:00 pm Reply   

This is awesome and I hope to see many many more reforms in the upcoming year in all the states including New Jersey

See More

We've helped free more than 240 innocent people from prison. Support our work to strengthen and advance the innocence movement.