Unreliable & Paid Informants

When it comes to testimony in criminal trials, there is a rampant quid pro quo system for jailhouse “snitches” and paid informants willing to give evidence against the guilty and innocent alike. Arrangements can range from get-out-of-jail-free cards to a hot lunch, though not all “snitches” see a payday. Simple police or prosecutor intimidation can result in false testimony as well.

Whatever the trade turns out to be, it is a sad fact that many wrongful convictions occur because of the false testimony of coerced or paid witnesses. For an in-depth report on case-by-case occurrences, the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions issued this 2004-2005 report: The Snitch System.

Read Their Stories

Explore the different ways wrongful convictions occur through the eyes of the innocent incarcerated.

  • Jose Montanez
    In 2016, after twenty three years of wrongful incarceration, a Cook County judge vacated the convictions and dismissed all charges against Jose Montanez, and his co-defendant, Armando Serrano. In February 1993, Montanez and Serrano were each sentenced to 55 years in the killing of a west side Chicago man.