In-custody Informants in Minnesota
State statute requires statewide tracking of the use of in-custody, or jailhouse, witnesses in a centralized database managed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Each county attorney shall report the following information to the Commissioner of Corrections, to be included in the database and published annually on a publicly accessible website (starting September 2022): 1) the name of the jailhouse witness and identifying information of the case in which they testified/planned to testify 2) the substance and use of any testimony of a jailhouse witness against the interest of a suspect or defendant, regardless of whether such testimony is presented at trial, and 3) the jailhouse witness’s agreement to cooperate with the prosecution and any benefit that the prosecutor has offered or may offer in the future to the jailhouse witness in connection with the testimony.
Additionally, Minnesota’s law requires prosecutors to disclose to the defense certain impeaching information about jailhouse witnesses, including: their complete criminal history of the jailhouse witness; any charges that are pending or were reduced or dismissed as part of a plea bargain; any cooperation agreement, deal, promise, inducement, or benefit made or intended to be made between the state and the jailhouse witness; whether the jailhouse witness recanted any testimony or statement implicating the suspect or defendant in the charged crime and circumstantial details of the recantation,; whether the jailhouse witness made a statement implicating any other person in the charged crime and circumstantial details of the implication, and; information concerning other cases in which the jailhouse witness testified, or offered to testify, against a suspect or defendant, including any agreement, deals, or benefits made/intended to be made with the jailhouse witness. Effective: August 2021.