What Must Be Disclosed to a Judge About a Confidential Reliable Informant?

Everyday, judges are presented with search warrants extolling the reliability of the confidential reliable informant “who has given reliable information in the past that has lead to the arrest and conviction of …,” etc.

But, what if in addition to those helpful activities, the CRI was simultaneously committing crimes, getting arrested, and getting convicted themselves. Should the judge be told those things? Does the defendant have a right to discovery of this kind of information? Maybe not according to one case.

The search warrant affiant wasn’t required to include the CI’s criminal history as a possible indicator of lack of credibility. The key is past information that has proven truthful or detailed or corroborated current observations that bespeaks credibility. United States v. Courtney, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162883 (N.D.Ohio Nov. 23, 2016). Defendant’s 2255 discovery requests are denied without showing far more. Whether all courts would agree with this analysis is debatable, but it is something worth thinking about. 

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