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The Highwayman Visits The Marianas: Informers Beware
By Barry Tarlow
RICO Report columns.
When confronted with the awesome power of the state, perhaps the single greatest threat to an innocent person is the false testimony of an informer who has made a deal with the prosecution. “Our judicial history is speckled with cases where informants falsely pointed the finger of guilt at suspects and defendants, creating the risk of sending innocent persons to prison.” United States v. Bernal-Obeso, 989 F.2d 331, 334 (9th Cir. 1993).
Yet, “[c]riminals caught in our system understand they can mitigate their own problems with the law by becoming a witness against someone else.” United States v. Bernal-Obeso, 989 F.2d at 334. “Never has it been more true than it is now that a criminal charged with a serious crime understands that a fast and easy way out of trouble with the law is . . . to cut a deal at someone else’s expense and to purchase leniency from the government by offering testimony in return for immunity, or in return for reduced incarceration.” Commonwealth of N. Mariana Islan
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