Resources

  • SNITCHING: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice
  • U.S. Attorney General's Guidelines on the FBI's Use of Confidential Human Sources
  • Sarah Stillman, The Throwaways, The New Yorker (2012) (article on the use of juvenile informants)

Recent Blog Posts

Legislation

It is an exciting time for criminal informant law. State and federal governments have begun examining and, in some cases, changing the law pertaining to informant use. Over the past few years, there have been numerous studies, commissions, hearings, and legislative proposals aimed at improving the reliability and accountability of informant policies. Below is a partial list of jursidictions and their efforts, with links to statutes, bills, reports, and other legislative materials where available. Additional background is available under the LEGISLATION section on SNITCHING BLOG.

For those interested in reforming informant law in your jurisdiction, the Model Bill contains legislative proposals on a wide range of issues, from reliability hearings to protections for juveniles.

Model Legislation & Policy

Reports

U.S./Federal Legislation & Materials

California

Connecticut

  • SB 1098 (requiring state-wide tracking of jailhouse informants and reliability hearings in murder and rape cases) (effective Oct. 2019)

Florida

Illinois

Maryland

  • Maryland Code, Crim. Law 9-302 & Cts. and Judicial Proceedings 10-901 (increased penalties for witness intimidation and new hearsay rules permitting statements from absent witnesses)

Montana

  • SB249 (requiring disclosure, tracking, electronic recording, and reliability hearings) (introduced 2017)

Nebraska

New Jersey

New York

North Dakota

  • "Andrew's Law," N.D. Code 29-29.5 (banning use of juvenile informants age 15 or younger; prohibiting campus police from using student informants; requiring written informant agreements; mandating police training and special procedures in the event of an informant's death)

Pennsylvania

  • H.B. 793 (2015) (provides witness protection measures for confidential informants; requires police to provide potential informants with opportunity to consult with counsel; requires parental consent for juvenile informants; bars use of informants with chronic substance abuse problems)

Texas

Washington