EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome To The Blogosphere, Snitching Blog

Professor Alexandra Natapoff at Loyola Law School Los Angeles has started Snitching Blog, which she explains as follows:

snitching = when police or prosecutors offer lenience to criminal suspects in exchange for information or cooperation

Snitching Blog is devoted to a part of our criminal system that most people know little or nothing about: criminal informants, or "snitches." At any given moment, thousands of informants are in the system trying to work off their own criminal liability by giving information to the government. These informants may be in court, in prison, on the street, or in the workplace. Police and prosecutors often rely heavily on information obtained from snitches. This is especially true in drug enforcement, but also for investigations of white collar crime, organized crime, and terrorism. In fact, it is impossible to fully understand the U.S. legal system without understanding snitching. Nevertheless, snitching remains shrouded in secrecy and confusion.

This blog does a number of things:

    • How it all works. Snitching Blog discusses how snitching works, how it shapes the legal system, and how it affects the lives of ordinary people. Snitching Blog offers news analysis, legal commentary, cultural insights, and more. If you want the complete story, you can read my book, SNITCHING: CRIMINAL INFORMANTS AND THE EROSION OF AMERICAN JUSTICE (NYU Press, 2009). 
    • Resources. Snitching Blog provides resources for individuals, lawyers, organizations, law enforcement, legislators, and others who want information about the law and public policies associated with snitching. There are links to government documents, reports, and sample court filings that may be educational or useful. Snitching Blog does not provide legal advice.
    • Current events. Snitching Blog shares informant-related stories, new legal developments, and other current events. If you know of a news story that might be of interest to other readers, please pass it on. 
    • Share your stories. Snitching Blog is the first public forum for people who have encountered snitching first-hand and who want to share their experiences. Many people have had their lives touched, sometimes ruined, by criminal informants or the practices associated with snitching. Many law enforcement professionals have important insights about how the practice works or could be improved. But because snitching is so secretive and "off the books," there is typically no way to share these experiences and insights with others. This blog provides that opportunity through the "Testimonials" section, in which individuals can submit brief descriptions of their experiences for others to read.

I hope you find this site interesting and useful. I look forward to your comments.

It is hard to imagine a person better suited to write a blog on this subject area. If you check out her faculty page at Loyola and a related page, you can see the great variety of work she has done on snitching, ranging from amicus curiae briefs to testimony to articles to books. Professor Natapoff already has a number of interesting posts on her blog covering topics such as informants killing informants and committing crimes while working for the government, and I am sure that many more will follow.

-CM

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