The Drug War has brought a plague of evil on our country, as did Prohibition. Murder, public corruption and wrongful imprisonment are the sad consequences of our drug control policy. I’ve grown weary of this ineffective, and impossible quest to control the uncontrollable behavior of our drug addicts.
A chief byproduct of the War on Drugs has been the new RICO laws, and lots of new and diabolical ways to obtain sworn testimony tailored to the exact needs of prosecutors so they can win convictions in court.
It’s a crime to offer something of value to a witness in exchange for testimony. That’s of course only, if the witness is sought by a defense lawyer seeking to exonerate a defendant. Prosecutors can routinely offer a witness his very life in exchange for testimony. Every inhabitant of our jails and prisons know they can tell tales and get decades taken off of their sentences if a prosecutor needs it to convict someone when real evidence is either too weak or non-existent.
When criminal cases finally wind their way to trial and the evidence has not materialized too many desperate prosecutors go to the jails seeking inmates who were or are in custody with the defendant. They bring in the inmates one at a time and interview them. The interview is really an audition to see just which despicable louse can sound the most believable before a jury. The lucky inmate turned snitch is cleaned up, put in a suit and paraded before the jury.
Too often in cases this informant testimony turns out to be the only “evidence” of a defendant’s guilt. This is true in cases where people are arrested on mistaken information or the evidence that became the basis for the actual arrest or otherwise evaporates before trial.
Out of this madness with the help of Internet publishing came the website, Whose A Rat. This site posts names, mug shots, actual court records and other information on the rats that offer themselves up for the prosecution’s generous payout.
The Rats are exposed to the wrath of the both the underworld and innocent suspects by this site which is also popular with defense lawyers trying to learn more about the snitches used against their clients.
Perhaps a better way would be to end all rewards for snitches to keep the system both honest and fair.