Can I learn the identity of a condifential informant?
Posted on January 25, 2016 3:00 PM EST
Do you suspect that someone has called the police and given an anonymous tip about your alleged criminal activity? If this has happened, is there any way that your criminal defense attorney can find out who this anonymous tipper is?
If the anonymous tipper called the police, then yes, it is possible for your defense lawyer to track them down and find out who they are. This comes down to the fundamental constitutional right to a fair trial, and to confront any witnesses who are being used against you.
If someone truly wanted to be anonymous, they are better off calling "Crime Stoppers" instead of the police, because they are extremely secure when it comes to protecting a caller's identity. Or, another option is for the anonymous person to become a "confidential informant."
INSIGHT INTO THE 'CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT'
You've surely heard about confidential informants or CIs on television and film. Usually, the storyline involves one or more mob bosses who are arrested based on the "tips" of a CI, who may be a former mobster or someone who wore a wiretap.
If someone tipped off the cops and their information led to your arrest and criminal charges, can you find out who this person is? If this is a normal witness, you may since the prosecution is required to give the defense such information, but if they are a confidential informant, that's another story.
The government prefers to protect the identity of CIs. After all, this person volunteered to come forward and wanted their identity to be protected to avoid retaliation.
Historically, courts have recognized the importance of CIs. That's because they give the police leads that they would not be able to obtain otherwise, or so easily. Realistically, if the police were to reveal the identity of an informant, they wouldn't get any more information from him or her, and this would send a strong message to others, deterring people from becoming informants.
Can I find out the identity of a CI? While it is possible, it's not an easy feat. The court will have to evaluate the informant's involvement with the crime, whether the defense would want to call the CI as a witness, and whether identifying the informant would put him or her in unreasonable danger.
Sometimes though, it is worth it for the defense to try and learn the identity of an informant.
Did someone tip off the police about your alleged criminal activity? If so, contact our office to discuss your situation with a Miami criminal defense lawyer!