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NCJ Number: 99026 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Informants - Some Observations on Use, Abuse, and Control
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:13  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1985)  Pages:251-256
Author(s): M F Brown
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This discussion of the police use of informants focuses on the legal use of informants' information, protecting the informant's identity, control of informants, and police policy for using informants.
Abstract: Court cases dealing with the police use of informants have focused on criteria for determining whether or not informant information is sufficient to establish probable cause as a basis for issuing a search or arrest warrant. The 1983 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Illinois v. Gates has had a profound impact on the use of informants. The Court ruled that the standard to be used in determining the existence of probable cause is the totality of circumstances. This apparently eliminates the standard of informant credibility set in Aguilar v. Texas. Since protecting an informant's identity is crucial to the continued effectiveness of this investigative method, it is important that police use them in such a way as to ensure their anonymity. The Supreme Court has ruled that if informants only provide information that establishes probable cause, their identity need not be disclosed in any subsequent legal proceedings. For informants to be used effectively, police investigators must understand their motives and use them accordingly. To deal with potential problems in the use of informants, police departments should develop a policy for their use. This article presents a written policy on informant use that conforms with the recommendations of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Nineteen references are listed.
Index Term(s): Informants; Police policies and procedures; Probable cause; US Supreme Court decisions
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