Monday, May 11, 2009

Florida passes snitching reforms

On Thursday, Charlie Crist signed Rachel's Law, requiring law enforcement agencies to "create guidelines for the use of confidential informants." The eponymous Rachel Hoffman was a Florida State University grad arrested for possession of marijuana and ecstasy who, rather than face jail time, agreed instead to serve as an informant in a drug buy. While attempting to purchase drugs and a handgun in an undercover sting, Rachel was murdered.

Her death sparked increased scrutiny into the use of police informants. Several bills were introduced into the Florida Legislature in an attempt to regulate and oversee the use of wired informants by Florida police departments. From the St. Petersburg Times:

"Rachel's Law" calls on agencies to take into account a person's age and maturity, emotional state and the level of risk a mission would entail. Police also would be barred from promising an informer more lenient treatment; only prosecutors and judges can do that.

Not included are several provisions Hoffman's parents said could have prevented their daughter's death, including barring anyone in a drug treatment program, as 23-year-old Rachel was, from going on undercover drug buys.
Grits for Breakfast has more, including this highlight:
My favorite part: Law enforcement must "Provide a person who is requested to serve as a confidential informant with an opportunity to consult with legal counsel upon request before the person agrees to perform any activities as a confidential informant."

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