Jail House Snitch Reform
Lawmakers in the Illinois Senate have recently passed a bill that would better protect the innocent from convictions through protective measures. These measures are aimed at improving the reliability of jailhouse informant testimony.
Senate Bill 1830 requires that there be pretrial reliability hearings of an informant whom the prosecution plans to use, and whose testimony was gathered while that informant was detained with the defendant. There has been recent outcry about the use of jail house informants and their propensity to come up with exactly the type of testimony the state is seeking against a particular defendant in exchange for leeway in their own criminal case.
How Does This Law Protect the Innocent?
An in-custody informant is an individual who alleges to have information or admissions made to him or her by a defendant while being incarcerated with that defendant. Many times, the state will offer an incentive for an informant to come forward with the alleged information.
With regards to the new bill, Senator Michael E. Hastings stated, "Cases in Illinois are showing us that you get what you pay for. If you incentivize testimony, people are likely to lie and innocent people go to jail.”
The Illinois legislature is attempting to balance the necessity for the state to use informants to build their case against defendants, while also not allowing the state to coerce or otherwise encourage one of these informants to embellish or fabricate their testimony in exchange for some positive in their own case.
What to Do If You Are Detained
If you are arrested, charged with a crime, and subsequently detained, then there are key factors you should always keep in mind. Remember the following:
- No one, NO ONE, is just a friend—everyone you come in contact with can potentially be a witness used against you;
- Only speak to your experienced and knowledgeable DuPage County criminal defense lawyer about your case; and
- Do not, under any circumstances, submit to questioning without your attorney present.
The lawyers at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC are experienced, respected, and proven Naperville criminal defense attorneys with resources necessary to defend your rights at every turn. If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged with a crime, or detained for a crime, contact our Naperville, Illinois office at and schedule a consultation today.