Houston & Alexander, PLLC
Call Today - Free Consultation
423-933-1972 or 888-351-9893
If you are concerned about coming to the office in-person because of the Coronavirus, we offer full consultations via phone, facetime and skype. Despite what you may have heard, the police departments and the courts have certainly not shut down. Courts have modified their procedures regarding in-court appearances, filings, bond matters, etc. If you need help with a legal matter, we are still up and running and here to help you. Houston & Alexander has been essentially a paperless and electronic firm for some time and we are completely prepared to handle your case by email, telephone or whatever it takes if you are unable to come into the office. If you have any questions, call us now at 423-267-6715 so that we can discuss your legal matter with you.

Should mentally ill jailhouse informants be allowed to testify?

Government informants -or snitches as they are often referred to-are are nothing new to the criminal justice system.

For years, prosecutors have used the testimony of inmates to help secure a guilty verdict for those on trial for various crimes. And, in exchange for helpful testimony, inmates who cooperate and give their story are given lighter sentences or relocations to more favorable correctional facilities.

However, despite the popularity of using snitches, countless wrongful convictions have occurred all because of phony informant testimony.

An upcoming capital murder trial in the state of Virgina has sparked nationwide awareness about the use of jailhouse informants-and just may force lawmakers to take a closer look at this issue.

The case involves a Virginia man on trial for murder and is facing the death penalty. Prosecutors plan to call four inmates serving time for various crimes as witnesses to testify against the man.

The interest is not necessarily because these men are going to be called to testify-public attention has increased because two of the four were found mentally incompetent at their own trials.

One of the planned informants reported recurring hallucinations during his trial back in 2011. The other informant was later diagnosed with volitional malingering, psychological terminology used to define those who deliberately fabricate mental or physical disorders for gain.

Should these types of individuals really be allowed to testify given their apparent past psychological troubles?

No, according to the defense attorney for accused. "[These] witnesses are more willing to lie or perjure themselves than other categories of witnesses," he stated.

The capital murder trial was originally schedule for this month but has since been postponed.

According to the Center of Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University's law school, "snitch testimony" is the leading cause of wrongful convictions in death penalty cases. Over 45 percent of the capital murder cases later exonerated had used informants.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Contact us to schedule a consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

attorney group

Learn More At A Free Consultation With One Of Our Lawyers

Please call our office at 423-933-1972 or contact us online for a free consultation.

If we accept your personal injury case and you retain us, we will represent you on a contingency basis. This means you will owe attorneys' fees only if we obtain compensation for you. In criminal law matters, we charge reasonable fees.

Houston & Alexander, PLLC
3417 Dayton Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37415

Toll Free: 888-351-9893
Phone: 423-933-1972
Chattanooga Law Office Map

Review Us