Most federal informants are confidential and are registered with a federal agency. With the help of these informants it becomes possible for agents and prosecutors to understand the many parts that constitute large conspiracies and attempt to dismantle them. Many informants work for the federal government in order to avoid charges for their own heinous crimes or to lessen the time they spend incarcerated for their crimes.
These informants can also work for monetary gain, and are paid based on what the federal government thinks is equal to the value of the information provided. Unfortunately, the total dollar amount that federal informants are given is not public, but just as an example, the following snitch funds (federal taxpayer monies) were paid to an actual federal informant, not in custody:
- CI-SUBSISTENCE: $178,370.00
- OPERATING EXPENSES: $23,450.00 (I.E. HOTEL LODGING, GAS AND CAR RENTAL)
- ADDITIONAL OPERATING EXPENSES:$10,590.00 (VEHICLE REPAIRS).
- ADDITIONAL OPERATING EXPENSES:$180.00
- ADDITIONAL OPERATING EXPENSES:$32,400.00 (HOUSING)
- ADDITIONAL OPERATING EXPENSES:$30,000.00 (RELOCATION FUNDS)
- PURCHASED VEHICLE: $25,000.00
GRAND TOTAL = $ 299,990.00
You read correctly, the informant was paid almost $300,000 dollars for snitching on their associates! The kinds of people that these informants are snitching on aren’t the kinds who will easily forget being betrayed, so by snitching, these informants are putting their own lives in danger. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I can’t seem to put a price on my life, and even if I could, it certainly wouldn’t be $300,000.
Oftentimes, these informants are placed in holding cells or jail cells with the suspect and are asked to get information from the suspect regarding the case at hand. These informants get the suspect to discuss the details of a case and ask leading questions to get the types of answers they want. The suspect, if they talk, can then have their statements used against them in a court of law allowing the prosecution to build their case despite the fact that the suspect has not been read their Miranda Rights nor have they agreed to speak to the prosecutors. When these informants are made to testify against the person, there is no guarantee that their statements are true but they influence the jury who has no idea of how much they were paid or what benefit they are gaining from their testimony. The jury may then take their statements seriously and as indicative of the suspects guilt.
Recently, there has been a snitch scandal brewing in Orange County, California, that has made the headlines and been featured in several news stories. The most publicized snitch scandal involves the informant used in the Dekraii proceedings in Orange County Superior Court, which continues to rock the criminal justice system.
The practice of using informants to boost a case is a very dangerous thing for those who are accused of a crime, and oftentimes there needs to be a lot more oversight into the evidence that becomes admissible in a court of law once an informant is used. In any type of case involved a snitch, it is extremely beneficial to have an criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the laws regarding informants as well as with the prosecutorial tactics in cases where an informant is utilized.