A confidential informant in Wyoming has just lost the appeal against his drug conviction. The informant, Marshal Lewis Washington, had agreed to become a confidential informant for Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation after he was imprisoned for shoplifting. Unfortunately, Washington took this to mean that he was authorised to buy drugs without law enforcement supervision. Before conducting a controlled drug buy, narcotics officers performed a customary search of Washington’s car where they found “an array of controlled substances”… They promptly arrested him for possession.
Despite Washington’s appeal that he believed DCI agents had authorised him to buy drugs on his own, the DCI insisted that he has been thoroughly briefed regarding his role. Washington lost his appeal on Tuesday.
This story, as reported in trib.com, emphasises the importance of properly explaining ground rules and expectation to confidential informants. Failure to do so can, as exemplified here, just facilitate more criminal activity.