Criminal actors - the informants system

These Standards may not be applicable to a prosecutor serving in a minor supporting role to an investigation undertaken and directed by law enforcement agents. They address the charge or post-charge stages of the criminal justice process only when those stages overlap with the investigative stage. These Standards are not intended to create a standard of care for civil liability, nor to serve as a predicate for a motion to suppress evidence or dismiss a charge. The prosecutor may provide legal advice to law enforcement agents regarding the use of investigative techniques that law enforcement agents are authorized to use.

The prosecutor may ask potential witnesses not to disclose information, and in doing so, the prosecutor may explain to them the adverse consequences that might result from disclosure such as compromising the investigation or endangering others.

The prosecutor also may alert an individual who has entered into a cooperation agreement that certain disclosures might result in violation of the agreement. Thus, unless required by statute or policy:. If non-routine techniques are used, the prosecutor should regularly reevaluate the need for them and whether the use of routine investigative techniques will suffice. B there is potential for the acquisition of additional useful and non- duplicative information;.

The identity of a confidential informant may also be unknown to the prosecutor. A confidential informant may in some instances become a cooperator, and in such circumstances reference should be made to Standard 2. These include risks that the confidential informant will:. A cooperator may have been a confidential informant earlier in the investigation. The prosecutor should take steps to assure the preservation of such evidence. However, if the time required for the potential cooperator to consult with counsel would render the agreement ineffective, the prosecutor may withdraw or threaten to withdraw the offer before there is opportunity for such consultation.

In that event, the prosecutor may condition cooperation on an immediate and uncounseled decision to proceed. An agreement should only cover those crimes known to the government at the time it is made, and should specify:. A subpoena may be issued by a prosecutor, a court, a grand jury or a law enforcement agency, as provided by the law of the jurisdiction. In all other cases, the prosecutor should encourage police and law enforcement agents to seek prosecutorial review and approval of search warrants prior to their submission to a judicial officer.

A who are not believed culpable at the time of the grant but are later found to be culpable; or. B who are later found to be more culpable than the prosecutor believed at the time of the grant;. A elicit facts about the investigation that should not become known to the witness; or. B establish a clear record so that a witness committing perjury or contempt can be held responsible for such actions;. However, notice need not be provided if there is a reasonable possibility it will result in flight of the target, endanger other persons, or obstruct justice.

If evidence is provided to the prosecutor by the subject or target of the investigation and the prosecutor decides not to provide the evidence to the grand jury, the prosecutor should notify the subject, target or their counsel of that decision without delay, so long as doing so would not jeopardize the investigation or prosecution or endanger others. As Hoffman spoke on her iPhone to the man she was on her way to meet, her voice was filtered through a wire that was hidden in her purse.

Perhaps what put her at ease was the knowledge that nineteen law-enforcement agents were tracking her every move, and that a Drug Enforcement Administration surveillance plane was circling overhead. In any case, Rachel Hoffman, a tall, wide-eyed redhead, was by nature laid-back and trusting. She was not a trained narcotics operative. A few weeks earlier, police officers had arrived at her apartment after someone complained about the smell of marijuana and voiced suspicion that she was selling drugs.

When they asked if she had any illegal substances inside, Hoffman said yes and allowed them in to search. The cops seized slightly more than five ounces of pot and several Ecstasy and Valium pills, tucked beneath the cushions of her couch. She believed that any charges against her could be reduced, or even dropped. A year earlier, while she was a senior, police pulled her over for speeding and found almost an ounce of marijuana in her car.

She was ordered into a substance-abuse program, which required regular drug testing.

Wonks in Exile

Later, after failing to report for a test, she spent three days in jail. She had never fired a gun or handled a significant stash of hard drugs. Now she was on her way to conduct a major undercover deal for the Tallahassee Police Department, meeting two convicted felons alone in her car to buy two and a half ounces of cocaine, fifteen hundred Ecstasy pills, and a semi-automatic handgun. The operation did not go as intended. By the end of the hour, police lost track of her and her car. They wanted to know if she might have run off with the money. Two days after Hoffman disappeared, her body was found in Perry, Florida, a small town some fifty miles southeast of Tallahassee, in a ravine overgrown with tangled vines.

Draped in an improvised shroud made from her Grateful Dead sweatshirt and an orange-and-purple sleeping bag, Hoffman had been shot five times in the chest and head with the gun that the police had sent her to buy. By the evening of her death, Rachel Hoffman had been working for the police department for almost three weeks.

In bureaucratic terms, she was Confidential Informant No. For police departments facing budget woes, untrained C. Narcotics Enforcement Training and Consulting, a firm that instructs officers around the country in drug-bust procedures. Every day, offenders are sent out to perform high-risk police operations with few legal protections. Some are juveniles, occasionally as young as fourteen or fifteen. Some operate through the haze of addiction; others, like Hoffman, are enrolled in state-mandated treatment programs that prohibit their association with illegal drugs of any kind.

Many have been given false assurances by the police, used without regard for their safety, and treated as disposable pawns of the criminal-justice system. The recruitment of young informants often involves risks that are incommensurate with the charges that they are facing.

A case that has dragged on for years in the courts involved LeBron Gaither, a sixteen-year-old student at a public high school in Lebanon, Kentucky. He was taken into custody for juvenile assault. An officer from the Kentucky State Police came to see him, and told him that he could face a prison term or he could agree to become a local drug informant.

Standards on Prosecutorial Investigations (Table of Contents)

At that point, the police would move in for the arrest. Gaither was tortured, beaten with a bat, shot with a pistol and a shotgun, run over by a car, and dragged by a chain through the woods. When his family learned what had happened, they sued. More often, questions about why informant use remains so unregulated came from parents who have lost a child to the practice. Within their ranks, the parents of Rachel Hoffman have become folk heroes of sorts. By the time Rachel was twelve, she had been a ballerina, a Brownie, an equestrian, and a Weeki Wachee Springs Little Mermaid contestant; by eighteen, she had learned to play the flute and the piano, gone skydiving, and hiked the Grand Canyon.

By twenty-three, she had completed an undergraduate degree in psychology, interned at a mental-health institute, and travelled internationally. She was given to hatching big plans: She had initially dreamed of going into counselling, but decided to apply to culinary school.

Types Of Informants And Their Role In Investigations

She would invent a new form of therapy, she told her dad; perhaps troubled kids who hated talking to a therapist from an overstuffed couch would open up as she taught them how to bake cakes and make spaghetti carbonara. Margie was a hard worker, but also something of a stargazer, who wore long, flowing skirts and burned sage smudge sticks in the living room. Irv, the child of Hungarian-Czech Holocaust survivors, was more of a straight arrow, who placed a premium on stability and structure. Margie worries that growing up between the two households took a toll on Rachel.

The day after her apartment was raided, she arrived at Police Headquarters to initiate her C. He not only forgave her but agreed to help her out with the police. Together, they would come up with someone to bust. In return for the favor, Hoffman promised to pay his overdue utility bill. The order was large, by any standard. She wanted the drugs for friends who would be visiting from Miami, she explained. And the gun? By early May, the deal had been arranged.

Police Informants - Can They Commit Crimes And Not Get Charged

Behind the scenes, the police worked up an Operational and Raid Plan, which involved more than a dozen local and federal agents. On the afternoon of the drug bust, Hoffman drove to Police Headquarters. Officer Pender placed a surveillance wire and a recording device in her purse, along with stacks of money for the buy.

Dre, who was later identified as Andrea Green, a twenty-five-year-old local man, had changed the site to a nearby park called Forestmeadows—one unfamiliar to Hoffman. She took off for the park. After some fifteen minutes on the road, Hoffman neared the entrance of Forestmeadows. But she turned too soon, into the wrong park.

Standards on Prosecutorial Investigations (Table of Contents)

Over the phone, Pender redirected her to the venue slightly farther north. After this, Pender lost track of her.


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She began driving toward a plant nursery just a mile and a half north, evidently thinking that the police were still monitoring her. Within minutes, her audio surveillance equipment went dead. It looks like the deal is going to go here. Turn around! Do not follow them! Officers began frantically searching the area, trying to find Gardner Road. The D. By the time a police team arrived at the narrow turnoff, Hoffman and her car were no longer there.

Instead, they found a spent. The encounter had never really been a prospective drug deal. Green was apparently planning a con: he was going to hand Hoffman a bag full of aspirin in place of the Ecstasy, a relative of his told me, and take off with the money. In the mid-nineteen-eighties, Congress enacted federal sentencing guidelines that imposed harsh mandatory minimums for drug offenses, even petty ones. The results of these and similar measures were striking. Over the course of that decade, the U.