This is the next post in our series on the handling of Little Rock, Arkansas criminal cases which involve confidential informants. Our last article discussed challenging confidential informants through Motion Practice. If it can be shown that law enforcement based an arrest on an unreliable CI then it may be possible to have the case dismissed. Each case will be very situation specific and it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling such matters. If you need to speak with a lawyer then contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.
Police often rely on the confidential informants when making arrests. The use of such informants, however, can be challenged at trial. It is important to understand that CI’s are typically individuals who have their own problems with the law. Such persons have often “cut a deal” in which they will receive a lesser prosecution in return for cooperation with law enforcement. This means, for obvious reasons, that jurors may very well not have reason to believe the statements of a CI. It is important to understand each of these reasons.
Jurors may disbelieve a CI out of concern that the informant is simply spewing statements in an effort to reduce their own sentence. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for an informant to make up false information in order to give the appearance that they are providing an officer with “valuable tips.” Informants may even go as far as reporting crimes that they, themselves, have committed and claiming that the current suspect committed the offense. During trial your lawyer can cross-examine the informant regarding how they serve their own interests by providing information. Such examination can help to show the jury that any information received from the CI may not be reliable.
Other reasons a CI may not be reliable may include their own criminal history and whether or not they are being paid for their cooperation. The worse an informant’s criminal history then the more reason jurors have to not believe that person’s testimony. This is especially true in cases where a CI has committed prior offenses which involve dishonesty (such as fraud, forgery, etc.). Also, if an informant is being paid by law enforcement to provide information then it may very well be that they are making up false claims out of financial motivation. Again, these are issues which can be raised to the jurors as part of an argument as to why they should not believe a CI.
Our Little Rock criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience in handling cases which involve confidential informants. Our lawyers have over twenty-five years of combined legal experience and have taken many such cases to trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We also handle matters in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas.