How Attorneys can Identify Confidential Informants in Denver Drug Cases

Print Friendly

In many drug cases in Denver Colorado, there are many things that you will need to discuss with your attorney. One of these issues is whether there was a confidential informant and whether steps can be taken to identify who the confidential informant is.

Under Colorado law Rule 16, the prosecution is required to provide a witness list to the defense. This witness list typically includes any individual who the prosecution intends to call at trial. The reasoning behind the list is to allow you to have adequate time to prepare a defense and to allow you to fully exercise your right to a fair trial. Without the list, it is questionable at best, whether you would be able to prepare for trial, or whether you would be able to weigh your options when deciding whether to plea or go to trial.

It is likely that any confidential informants will be kept off the witness list and will not be identified to the defendant. In these circumstances it is important that your Attorney attempt to determine who the confidential informant is and to argue, through pre-trial motions, for the prosecutor to reveal the confidential informant’s name.

The identity of the confidential informant can be sought in a few ways. The first way is to directly seek the information in order to ensure a fair trial. In these types of motions, the argument to the court will focus on whether the identity and testimony of the confidential informant is relevant to the client’s guilt or innocence. If it is, then it may be possible for the judge to rule that the name must be turned over to the defense.

Additionally, the identity can be sought through the use of a probable cause hearing. These hearings are used to determine whether the case can stand up to legal scrutiny. For example, the most common probable cause hearing in a drug case with a co-defendant involves whether the officers performed a Constitutional search or seizure. If the officers relied on the confidential informant to establish probable cause for their search or seizure and they cannot show that the informant was reliable, then it may be necessary to reveal the informant’s identity. In other words, it will be up to the Denver Drug Attorney to try to establish that the informant’s reliability was not established by the officers alone.

If the Criminal Defense Attorney can establish doubt in the mind of the judge about whether the informant was reliable, then there is a better chance that the judge will require the prosecution to reveal the identity of their confidential informant.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

Written by

Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca