Facing a criminal charge is hard enough without the added pressure of finding out a criminal informant is working with the police or helping the prosecution’s case. While the Sixth Amendment provides you the right to face your accuser, you are not always guaranteed information leading to the identity of the informant.
Determining the value of the identity of the informant is a significant factor in whether or not you can find out who the informant is.
A tipster versus an informant
The information a confidential informant passes on could be incriminating and weaken the defense’s argument. Task force agents often rely on the help of informants or tipsters regarding criminal activities, but if the individual is not going to be a material witness for the prosecution, Georgia law may prohibit revealing the identity of the informant. An informant typically has a deal with the authorities that aids their own legal troubles, while a tipster simply offers information that could help an investigation.
An opportunity or a problem
A skilled defense attorney knows that the identity of the informant could play a crucial role in the defense’s argument during trial. If required to testify in court, the CI could answer questions concerning motivation for sharing or collecting the information, such as a plea deal of having their own charges dropped. This can help sway perception concerning the testimony and trustworthiness of the information.
Though not a guarantee, finding out the source behind incriminating evidence could expose weaknesses in the case against you. CI’s have some legal rights, but so do you when it comes to your criminal defense.