David Katz

Document Type



The primary function of the informer is to disclose information to law enforcement authorities which will result in a criminal investigation against a member of society. The informer’s role is a powerful one. Based on his knowledge, a person may be arrested, and possibly suffer loss of freedom, employment, or damage to reputation. Yet the use of informers is widespread, and is often undertaken without safeguards sufficient to avoid abuse by the police. Abuse of informant’s information often arises in the context of pretrial warrant challenges and the entrapment defense.

This article will explore some of the problems implicit in the use of informers. In order to do so, it will attempt to identify who are informers and examine how they are viewed by the police and the courts. Throughout the article, various proposed safeguards designed for the informer’s protection will be examined. Also, the article will seek to develop a system which may ensure, to a greater degree, that the defendant accused of an unlawful act based on an informer’s word be afforded a just and proper trial.


B.A. The American University; J.D. Duquesne Law School; M.A. State University of New York at Albany.

Publication Date


Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.