I Smell a Rat: The Use of Snitch Testimony in Obtaining Criminal Convictions

– Post Submission By Cesar Flores

The ACJP crew had an early morning. We all saddled up and went to the Northern California Innocence Project’s (NCIP) monthly continental breakfast presentation.

It was very informative, looking at a different insight on how a testimony against a fellow inmate could become such a big mess due to what one inmate gains from giving a testimony.

A video that was shown about how an inmate got all of the information on his fellow inmate through posing as a criminal investigation officer and district attorney. He said that gaining evidence against another inmate in jail “is a market.”

Reflecting on the breakfast, I’m Glad I woke up early to go. Maybe you could come next time.

More information on today’s breakfast is below.

I Smell a Rat: The Use of Snitch Testimony in Obtaining Criminal Convictions

Speaker: Chuck Sevilla

Convictions based on the testimony of jail house snitches, someone who stands to gain something in exchange for his testimony against another, contribute to more than 15% of the cases of wrongful conviction overturned by DNA testing. Yet snitch testimony is frequently used at trial. Using case examples, we will explore the use and misuse of snitch testimony and the risks inherent in that use, such as: How and when do prosecutors rely on “snitch” testimony? What motivates snitches to provide this information. Why does California now require inmate snitch testimony to be corroborated?