Vice Squad
Friday, August 06, 2004

When vice is criminalized, regulating it generally involves the use of informants. (As the vice transactions themselves are voluntary, there is typically no victim with an incentive to summon the police.) Informants aren't even popular in elementary school, so why would someone be willing to inform against a drug buyer? In many instances, because it is part of their law-enforcement job, or because they otherwise get paid, either in cash or a reduced sentence of their own, for their information. But paying informants also creates an incentive to fabricate information, or to entrap others into committing crimes. Collecting the information, even without entrapment or fabrication, can also be quite dangerous.

One drug defendant is taking the fight to informants -- and now a federal district court has ruled that he can continue to do so:
A US District Court judge has ruled that an Alabama man charged with money laundering and drug trafficking offenses can keep a web site that posted the names and photos of informants and DEA agents involved in his case. The man, Leon Carmichael, told the court that the web page, done in the style of a "WANTED" poster and which asked for information about the informants and DEA agents, was part of his defense effort.
Here's the full story, from this week's Drug War Chronicle. The defendant's lawyer says that the website has already led to people contacting him with information that might discredit the informants.

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