- First, see ACLU of Northern California's 12-page letter (pdf) to the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice regarding confidential informants, including several recommendations for preventing wrongful convictions. Good job, folks! More on this later, but I wanted to get the link out there. Meanwhile,
- CrimProf Bog reports on an upcoming discussion of snitch testimony between an ADA, an exoneree, and a law prof, sponsored by the Northern California Innocence Project next week (Oct. 5) in Santa Clara. Obviously I can't attend, but hopefully some West Coast legal blogger can go and let us know what's said. (Or I'd encourage any blog-less reader in attendance to take notes and send them my way - if you did I'd post highlights.)
Speaking of Natapoff, this summer I posted about her exciting motion idea requesting a "reliability hearing" for informants similar to those required of other compensated witnesses like "experts." Indeed, requiring such hearings by statute was one of the recommendations in the ACLU letter. Natapoff never got a ruling on that motion, she informed me, but a couple of Grits commenters said they planned to give it a shot - I'd love to hear the result if anybody ever actually tried it in court and got a ruling.
Mendacious snitches are the single most common cause of wrongful convictions. If a judge won't order such hearings, legislatures should require them by statute.