Drug Policy

Drug Informant Admits to Lying


Federal courts may have to revisit several drug cases in the Cleveland area after a paid government informant has admitted to lying under oath in several cases. One woman has already been released from a ten-year prison term, and charges against two others have been dropped. Another man, who was acquitted of charges based on the informant's testimony after spending eight months in prison while awaiting trial, is suing.

This is of course merely the latest scandal involving lazy drug cops who work with shady informants and don't look for corroborating evidence before making arrests (or, in the case of Kathryn Johnston and several dozen others, before kicking down doors).

The ACLU will soon be launching a national campaign about the use of informants. I think we'll also be reading soon about more scandals involving federal informants and drug snitches, particularly coming out of the federal prison system.

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  1. this is bad but it looks to me like responsibility lies on the jurors for trusting untrustworthy testimony and not on prosecutors. Ignoring a debate on the legitimacy of drug laws of course.

  2. Snitches are Bitches…especially the ones being paid by police for their “information”.

    How do I get a job like that? I’ll give you the names of everybody I know (whether or not they use drugs)…

  3. And columnists like Leonard Pitts wonder why there is such a strong cultural movement to ‘stop snitchin’.

  4. Who knew that the Stop Snitching movement was onto something?

  5. Prosecutors routinely pay for testimony, in the form of reduced sentences. The value of the payment can be enormous – there’s no limit.

  6. It was not unusal during proabition for one bootleger to rat on another and create more market for himself.My grandpa was one.I heard all the stories.

  7. At this point, what is the point of anecdotal evidence. There is enough study of the issue to use more robust sources of evidence to build an argument against the WOD.

    No matter how many anecdotal posts appear on-line here at Reason, they remain simple anecdote and essentially an emotional appeal.

  8. Prosecutors routinely pay for testimony, in the form of reduced sentences. The value of the payment can be enormous – there’s no limit.

    Well said.

  9. sort of off topic, but sort of funny

    swat team prank

  10. this is bad but it looks to me like responsibility lies on the jurors for trusting untrustworthy testimony

    Serious question: how are jurors supposed to recognize untrustworthy testimony coming from the prosecution? The majority of Americans do NOT read blogs like this one, and therefore are NOT likely to view the government and its agents with a gimlet eye.

  11. Jennifer,

    And those that do will definitely not be allowed to sit on juries.

  12. I doubt reading blogs will keep you from being on a jury. But I’ll try it next time I receive my jury summons. I’m about due.

  13. Viewing blogs will keep you off a jury? Probably not.

    Viewing the government with a gimlet eye and not concealing that during voir dire? Definitely.

  14. “responsibility lies on the jurors for trusting untrustworthy testimony and not on prosecutors.”

    I’d more likely buy this if, in fact, the jurors were permitted to hear/see ALL of the evidence. Nothing inadmissible because the search warrant was flawed; no ‘sidebar’ discussions; nothing excluded because it is “too prejudicial” or “inflammatory”.

    Give me ALL of the evidence, then let me decide.


  15. Paid informants lie? Who knew such a thing was possible?

  16. The best way to avoid sitting on a jury is to wear your “I support the right of Jury Nullification” T-shirt when called to do your civic duty.

    If you want to serve, bring something other than Reason Magazine to read. I’d suggest the World News Weekly, but it is no more.

  17. the problem is there is too much to gain by lying.alot of these dirty motherfuckers are no better than the so called garbage they are pulling off the street.most people look at drug users as scum of the earth,in many cases they are right on the money.in some cases they could not be more wrong.drugs are a nasty business,no one would disagree.some see them as a necessary evil in an imperfect world.the fact is that if you work your job and are not a public charge sucking up the wellfare and food stamps or free heathcare and are not doing other hanous shit(raping,killing,steeling)I dont give a fuck what you do,neither does most other people.if your a drugy who steals to support your habbit,I would like to see your ass skinned alive and hung by your balls in the town square.you are the reason drug policies remain as they are.If you are a drug dealer who prays on the young you should suffer the same fate.If the majority of users were law abiding employed citizens things might get losser.not to excuse the abuses by dirty informants,but if you want someone to blame,blame youe buddys who go out and steal from hard working americans to support their habbit instead of manning up and getting a fucking job.those dickheads fuck things up for everybody.as for the dirty informants,well any time you put that much to gain into anyones hands you are bound to get corruption.in politics,sports,business and also in drug inforcment carried out by inbread,moraless fucks who have no respect for the bill of rights or the constitution both before and after they turned.dont feel bad though your buddys would probobly do the same thing to you if they knew the would get 10 percent of your assets.

  18. Brett Gyllenskog, Smithfield, Utah

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