I am very pleased to introduce Snitching Blog’s first guest blogger: Professor Michael Rich formerly at Capital University Law School and recently moved to Elon University School of Law. Professor Rich has written about the use of informants as a potential violation of the Thirteenth Amendment, which prohibits involuntary servitude. From the abstract:
Though active informants cooperate for many reasons, most assist the police out of fear that if they refuse, they will be subject to criminal prosecution or more severe punishment. This Article argues that by compelling these “coerced informants” to work under such a threat, the government violates the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on involuntary servitude. As a doctrinal matter, compelling coerced informants to serve under threat of criminal sanction fits the Thirteenth Amendment’s definition of involuntary servitude. Moreover, the use of coerced informants offends the free labor principles that animated the passage and ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment and underlie the Supreme Court’s Thirteenth Amendment jurisprudence.
Link to article here: Coerced Informants and Thirteenth Amendment Limitations on the Police-Informant Relationship, 50 Santa Clara L. Rev. 681 (2010). Professor Rich will be here throughout August.