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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Los Angeles jury convicts British man based on jailhouse informant

Neil Revill was convicted today of a double murder based largely on the testimony of jailhouse informant Benjamin Chloupek. Revill was accused of killing a fellow meth user Arthur Davodian, who ironically was himself a police informer who may have given information to the police about Revill. Chloupek testifed that Revill confessed the details of the murder to him while they were incarcerated. Chloupek, whose substantial criminal record includes convictions for manslaughter and child abuse involving the death of an 18-month-old, "admitted approaching detectives with his account in the hope of obtaining a lenient sentence on a burglary case he was facing."

The use of jailhouse informant witnesses in Los Angeles has become a rarity. After a scathing Grand Jury investigation in 1990 in which rampant abuses of informants were uncovered in the Los Angeles jail, the District Attorney's office clamped down, creating new corroboration restrictions, a central jailhouse informant index and committee, and requiring high-level approval before such witnesses could be used. The District Attorneys office states that it has approved the use of jailhouse informant witnesses only six times since 2006. Here's the Los Angeles Times story: Jailhouse informant plays a critical role in trial for a brutal double murder.