When it comes to informants, police use them all the time. One of the biggest areas where informants are used, and a lot of people don't realize, is in order to obtain search warrants to get into individual's houses that the police believe are involved in crime.
So, a confidential informant can give the police information and they can use that information to submit a search warrant affidavit, along with a search warrant, to a judge for signing and then if they're able to get the judge to sign the search warrant, they can go and search an individual's home.
Informant Must Provide Reliable Information
Now, the informant has to be reliable. In other words, they have to be giving reliable information. It can't just be anybody. Sometimes they use anonymous informants that just call in. That's not good enough to get a search warrant issued.
However, if the informant gave information and that information was corroborated by way of surveillance and checking things out and actually confirming that what the informant was saying was true, then that would be a way to get a search warrant.
But the defense can then file a motion to reveal who the informant is as long as they can show that the informant might possess some exculpatory information — in other words, information that could help the defendant in the case.
That certainly cannot be hidden from the defense. So, that's one area where an informant can be used.
Another area is where you know who the informant is. They tell on people, they give information and then that information is used to try to convict the defendant or get a search warrant. There are all sorts of ways an informant can be used in order to benefit the police or prosecutors in a criminal case.
Reliable Informant vs. Anonymous Informant
There's a difference between informants. Sometimes there's a confidential reliable informant. Somebody who the police have used before — even like paying money to help them get bad guys. Also, there are anonymous informants.
Those are just people who call in or send a letter in or give information, but the police don't know who they are. Now, their reliability and credibility is obviously less than a reliable informant. How an informant's reliability is ascertained is by them giving truthful, accurate information and then continuing to do so.
Then the police can tell the judge that they've used this information before. The informant has given good information. It's been reliable. It's been accurate, and then the judge can trust that informant's information in the current case.
So, there are all sorts of informants that the police use. Sometimes I've even seen informants get immunity in a case, and those informants are actually guilty of the crime that the police are investigating, but now they're going to try to catch other individuals who are involved in the crime so they can be given immunity — they won't be prosecuted but they have to assist the police and prosecutors and getting other individuals — either by way of giving information or testifying or both.
The bottom line is that informants in Los Angeles criminal defense are very useful to the police as long as they can show that they're reliable. But by the same token, the defense can try to challenge some of these informant's information either because the informants are not reliable, they're untested or maybe the informant is just giving information because they're trying to help themselves.
Lawyer to Challenge Credibility of Informant
That would also make them not reliable and they could certainly be challenged on the witness stand by a good Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who can basically say, the only reason you're giving this information is to help yourself. So, it's not necessarily accurate or reliable. It's what you want to say in order to get yourself out of certain circumstances.
The defense attorney can certainly cross-examine and use this information against the informant to challenge them and show they're not reliable and therefore, any information they give cannot be used against a particular defendant.
So, if you have a situation where you have an informant related to your matter and you need help, come and sit down with me. Use my twenty-five years of experience to challenge this informant to protect your rights, your freedom and your reputation.
For more information on Informants In Criminal Cases In Los Angeles, a free initial consultation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.