Incentivized or "Snitch" Testimony
When witnesses testify in exchange for deals, special treatment, or the dropping of charges, their testimony is inherently suspect. Unfortunately, our criminal justice system relies all too often on witnesses with these strong motivations to lie. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the use of incentivized witnesses, known as “snitches”, has proven to be a significant cause of wrongful convictions and is the number one cause of wrongful convictions in death penalty cases.
To alleviate the problems of incentivized testimony, prosecutors must be required to inform defense counsel of any deals, either explicit or implicit, with prospective witnesses. In addition, MAIP supports new rules that require credibility hearings when a snitch is testifying and special jury instructions in cases that rely upon snitches. If the motivations of each witness and the inherent problems in such testimony are out in the open, jurors can make more accurate and fair decisions about each witness.
For more information, please look at the following sources: