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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64227 Find in a Library
Title: LEGAL ISSUES - POLICE INFORMANTS
Journal: DETECTIVE  Volume:7  Issue:3  Dated:(FALL 1979)  Pages:30-36
Author(s): B T VALIMONT
Corporate Author: US Army Criminal Investigation Command
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Army Criminal Investigation Command
Falls Church, VA 22041
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: COURT DECISIONS FORM THE BASIS FOR POLICE GUIDELINES THAT DEAL WITH THE PROTECTION OF POLICE INFORMANT CONFIDENTIALITY AND POLICE USE OF INFORMANTS TO ESTABLISH PROBABLE CAUSE FOR ARREST OR SEARCH.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMANTS HAS LONG BEEN AFFIRMED IN FEDERAL LAW, IT IS NOT ABSOLUTE. GOVERNMENT WITNESSES CAN BE COMPELLED TO DISCLOSE THEIR SOURCES IF THE DEFENSE REQUIRES. HOWEVER, CONGRESS'S JENCKS ACT OF 1957 LIMITS THE TYPE OF PRETRIAL STATEMENTS TO BE GIVEN TO THE DEFENSE. INFORMANTS MUST GIVE THEIR CORRECT NAMES AND ADDRESSES AT TRIAL TO ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY ONLY IF THEIR TESTIMONY DIFFERS FROM THE DEFENDANT'S AND THE DEFENSE WISHES TO IMPEACH. WITNESSES NEED NOT BE DISCLOSED AT TRIAL IF IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT THEIR HARM WILL ENSUE. IN USING INFORMANTS TO OBTAIN SEARCH OR ARREST WARRANTS, POLICE ARE USING HEARSAY AND CONSEQUENTLY MUST SHOW IT TO BE RELIABLE. IN AGUILAR V. TEXAS, TESTS FOR DETERMINING PROBABLE CAUSE BASED ON HEARSAY WERE THAT INFORMATION PRESENTED TO A NEUTRAL MAGISTRATE MUST BE SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY OF THE INFORMANT AND HIS INFORMATION. THREE TYPES OF POLICE INFORMANTS INCLUDE CRIMINALS, CITIZENS, AND POLICE OFFICERS. THE CRIMINAL USUALLY INFORMS FOR SOME POLICE FAVOR, BUT CAN CREATE RELIABILITY PROBLEMS. USUALLY, CRIMINAL INFORMANTS MUST HAVE PROVIDED RELIABLE INFORMATION IN THE PAST OR INFORMATION IMPLICATING THEMSELVES. CITIZEN AND POLICE OFFICER INFORMANTS USUALLY PRESENT FEW RELIABILITY PROBLEMS, BUT MAGISTRATES MUST BE GIVEN SUFFICIENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION TO ASCERTAIN RELIABILITY IF THE INFORMANT IS NOT TO BE DISCLOSED. EXAMPLES ARE GIVEN OF SUFFICIENT AND INSUFFICIENT CORROBORATION OF INFORMANT'S INFORMATION FOR PROBABLE CAUSE ARREST.
Index Term(s): Arrest warrants; Informants; Judicial decisions; Laws and Statutes; Legal privacy protection; Privileged communications; Right to confront witnesses; Right to Due Process; Rights of the accused; Rules of evidence; Search warrants; Witness impeachment; Witness protection
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64227

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