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When drug cases involve confidential informants

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Confidential informants play a major role in many Ohio drug cases. These individuals, often called CIs, can be anyone from concerned citizens to individuals involved in criminal activities.

Their information, whether fabricated, shaky or solid, can affect the outcome of a case.

Defendants using CI information

Defendants in drug cases can use information about confidential informants to their advantage. For instance, defendants may request details about the informant’s identity and past activities to challenge the credibility of the evidence.

  • Some informants have a history of deceit or of providing false information. This can significantly undermine their credibility and the integrity of the evidence they provide.
  • Defendants can argue that the informant had a personal motive for providing information, such as receiving leniency for their own criminal activities, monetary rewards or revenge against the defendant. Showing that the informant had a vested interest in the case’s outcome can cast doubt on the impartiality of their testimony.
  • By cross-examining the informant and comparing their statements with other evidence, the defense can highlight inconsistencies in the informant’s account. This can be particularly effective if the informant gave different versions of events or if their testimony does not align with physical evidence.

These are just some of many ways to use CIs to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

Challenges and risks of CIs

Ohio considers drug offenses as crimes against society. Authorities’ use of CIs in these cases comes with certain challenges and risks. Law enforcement agencies must carefully vet and manage their informants because of the potential for informants to provide false or misleading information. Informants may do this either to gain favor with law enforcement or to settle personal scores.

Confidential informants can be a double-edged sword for prosecutors. CIs do not necessarily strengthen the case against a defendant, which can be useful for defendants to understand.


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