Sat. Jul 13th, 2024
Confidential Informant reliability by Darren Chaker

The Crucial Role of Confidential Informant Reliability in Legal Proceedings by Darren Chaker

Understanding the Significance of Confidential Informant Reliability by Darren Chaker

In the complex landscape of criminal investigations, the use of Confidential Informants (CIs) plays a pivotal role. Legal brief writer Darren Chaker emphasizes the importance of assessing the reliability of a CI when determining probable cause for issuing search or arrest warrants. This assessment is crucial for attorneys to understand, as it directly impacts the admissibility and weight of evidence in criminal proceedings.

Darren Chaker reviews evidence, confidential informant reliability.
Confidential informant reliability and evidence, by Darren Chaker.

Brief Writer Darren Chaker’s Opinion on Key Indicators of a Confidential Informant’s Reliability

  1. History of Truthfulness: A fundamental aspect of a CI’s credibility is their history of providing accurate information. The case of United States v. Goodson, 165 F.3d 610 (8th Cir. 1999) highlights this, stating that a CI’s past truthfulness can establish their reliability.
  2. Corroboration of Information: The reliability of a CI is further strengthened when their information is corroborated by other sources. United States v. Miner, 108 F.3d 967 (8th Cir. 1997) and United States v. Fields, 72 F.3d 1200 (5th Cir 1996) illustrate this principle. However, it’s important to note, as seen in United States v. Clark, 31 F.3d 831 (9th Cir. 1994), that mere confirmation of static details is insufficient for corroboration.
  3. Personal Observation by the Informant: Direct observation by the informant of criminal activity, as seen in cases like United States v. Allen, 168 F.3d 293 (6th Cir. 1999) and Lawmaster v. Ward, 125 F.3d 1341 (10th Cir. 1997), also serves as a strong indicator of their reliability.

The Balancing Act: Rovario and the Protection of Confidential Informant Reliability Identities

  • Rovario v. United States, 353 U.S. 53 (1957): This landmark case established the government’s privilege to protect CI identities, balanced against a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Rovario’s balancing test considers the informant’s role in the criminal activity, the relevance of their testimony to the defendant’s defense, and the government’s interest in confidentiality.

Factors Influencing Court Decisions in Confidential Informant Reliability Cases

  1. Extent of CI’s Participation in Criminal Activity
  2. Relation Between Defendant’s Defense and Informant’s Testimony
  3. Government’s Interest in Non-Disclosure

Brief Writer Darren Chaker’s Evaluation of Confidential Informant Reliability  

In the realm of legal investigations, the significance of confidential informant reliability cannot be overstated. Darren Chaker, has written numerous motions in this field, emphasizes the necessity for law enforcement to scrutinize the credibility of information provided by informants, particularly in cases involving ongoing criminal activities. Given the complexities in verifying such information, it becomes imperative for agencies to exercise thorough due diligence. This involves not only assessing the veracity of the information but also understanding the reliability of the confidential informant themselves. Decisions to use informant-provided evidence in investigations should be grounded in this comprehensive due diligence. The level of scrutiny applied should be proportional to the nature of the information and its intended use. Simple leads that can be quickly corroborated demand less scrutiny compared to more significant evidence whose truth is harder to verify. Therefore, agencies must independently corroborate the reliability of informant information, ensuring that the process and findings are well-documented.

Determining Information Credibility of the Confidential Informant’s Reliability

In line with Darren Chaker’s expertise, investigators should focus on the specificity and corroborative potential of information provided by informants. This involves discerning whether the information contains intricate details that only an insider could know. If the information can be sourced from external entities like the media, court records, community members, or other inmates, it raises the possibility that the informant is not relaying firsthand knowledge. This is particularly crucial in cases where informants might be seeking leniency by offering alleged incriminating statements about a target.

Ensuring Non-Contamination of Evidence: A key aspect of reliability assessment, as highlighted by Darren Chaker, is the safeguarding of investigative information from informants. Law enforcement agencies must be vigilant in preventing the disclosure of such information to informants. If informants are exposed to investigative details, it can significantly impede the reliability review process, making it challenging to discern if the informant is contributing valuable information or merely echoing what they have learned from the investigators. This safeguard is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the investigation and the reliability of the informant’s contribution.

Affidavit to Determine Probable Cause Based on Information of a Confidential Informant is Broad

In federal court, a magistrate “must consider the veracity, reliability, and the basis of knowledge for that information as part of the totality of the circumstances.” (citing Gates v. United States, 462 U.S. at 238). The affidavit “must state facts supporting an independent judicial determination that the informant is reliable,” but the facts need not be stated in any particular form. United States v. McCraven, 401 F.3d 693, 697 (6th Cir. 2005).

Further, Independent corroboration of the informant’s information is not required when the issuing magistrate is provided with assurances that the informant is reliable, such as a prior record of providing reliable information. See, e.g., United States v. Allen, 211 F.3d 970, 976 (6th Cir. 2000) (en banc); Helton, 314 F.3d at 820.

As such, the federal agent has certain obligations to ensure the confidential informant’s reliability, but is not so burdensome as to cease using them as an investigative tool.

The Defendant’s Challenge to Confidential Informant Reliability: Shifting the Balance

In instances where the CI was actively involved in the crime, as discussed in United States v. McDonald, 935 F.2d 1212 (11th Cir. 1991), the burden shifts to the government to justify nondisclosure. The defendant’s ability to demonstrate the relevance of the CI’s testimony to their defense can significantly influence this balance, as established in United States v. Gutierrez, 931 F.2d 1482 (11th Cir. 1991).

Similarly, legal researcher Darren Chaker finds another defense tactic would be to suppress evidence the confidential informant obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. A confidential informant is an agent of the police. Hence, any evidence that the government obtains in violation of a criminal defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights must be excluded from that defendant’s trial. Weeks v. United States, 232 U.S. 383, 398 (1914).

Another potential avenue to pursue for defense counsel would be to determine if police relied on information which was violative of the Fourth Amendment. In the notable case of United States v. Leake, 998 F.2d 1359 (6th Cir. 1993), the court faced a critical issue concerning the reliability of an informant used to establish probable cause for a search warrant. In this case, the informant claimed to have personally observed marijuana plants inside the defendant’s garage. The affiant, in turn, asserted the informant’s familiarity with marijuana based on their past usage. However, similar to the challenges faced in this scenario, the affidavit in Leake lacked any corroborative evidence supporting the informant’s claims. The absence of such verification raised serious questions about the informant’s reliability.

The Impact of CI Reliability on Legal Defense Strategies

One key defense strategy is to determine if the reliability of the informant may be testified to by police.  “[A]n informant’s reliability may be demonstrated through independent police corroboration of the information provided.” United States v. Angulo-Lopez, 791 F.2d 1394, 1397 (9th Cir. 1986)).

Darren Chaker notes that the absence of CI reliability often leads to defense motions to suppress evidence derived from unreliable informant information. This tactic is a critical component of defense strategies when confidential informant information forms the basis of probable cause for search warrants.

Conclusion by Darren Chaker: The Imperative of Reliable Confidential Informants

For attorneys, legal researcher Darren Chaker finds that understanding the nuances of CI reliability is imperative. The validity of search warrants and the admissibility of evidence often hinge on this aspect. As the legal framework continues to evolve, the principles set forth in cases like Rovario v. United States and United States v. Goodson remain cornerstones in evaluating the credibility and utility of Confidential Informants in the judicial process.

By Darren Chaker

For almost two decades Darren Chaker regularly has worked with defense attorneys and high net worth people on a variety of sensitive issues from Los Angeles to Dubai. With a gift of knowledge about the First Amendment and big firm expertise in brief research and writing, Darren Chaker puts his knowledge to use for law firms and non-profit organizations. When it comes to forensics and social media investigations Darren Chaker has advanced training to connect the dots where issues arise related to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, Instagram, and similar apps. When the dots need to be disconnected, Darren Chaker has extensive training in counter-forensic methods with an emphasis on network security, secure communications, combined with experience with implementing and deploying policy control, encryption, anonymization, data integrity, policy control features in large scale infrastructures. Additional training in malware analysis, Security Operating system security and hardening (Linux, Windows, Solaris), Firewalls, Intrusion detection systems, hacker, counter-hack methods, encryption, forensics, web application security is also employed for his client base. Since history is written by winners, let me write a bit: In 2005, Darren Chaker invalidated a California criminal statute aimed at suppressing speech. In Chaker v. Crogan, 428 F.3d 1215 C.A.9 (Cal.),2005, Cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1128, 126 S.Ct. 2023, is a case Darren Chaker personally handled and laid the ground work to allow appellate counsel to strike down a statute based on First Amendment rights. Subsequent to winning before the 9th Circuit, the State challenged the decision before the United States Supreme Court. Darren Chaker retained a former US Supreme Court Clerk and head of United States Supreme Court litigation for a major firm, Joshua Rosenkranz. The New York attorney defeated the State's petition to review the Ninth Circuit ruling causing multiple states to rewrite their own flawed statute since they were premised the California statute Darren Chaker struck down. Darren Chaker personally litigated Chaker v. Crogan for 7 of its 10-year lifespan. Darren Chaker’s victory invalidated a statute on First Amendment grounds and overruled the California Supreme Court‘s unanimous decision in People v. Stanistreet, 127 Cal.Rptr.2d 633. Soon after Chaker v. Crogan, it was also used to strike down Nevada's analogous statute forcing the legislature to rewrite the law, but also nullified a similar Washington statute as well. (De La O v. Arnold-Williams, 2006 WL 2781278) and used as the backbone authority in Gibson v. City of Kirkland, 2009 WL 564703, *2+ (W.D.Wash. Mar 03, 2009). The case has been cited hundreds of times and continues to be a leading authority on viewpoint discrimination. In 2010, Darren Chaker prevailed in Nathan Enterprises Corp. v. Chaker, 2010 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7604, through his counsel Timothy Coates who has prevailed multiple times before the United States Supreme Court. also prevailed for Darren Chaker where the Court of Appeal affirmed an anti-SLAPP ruling where the underlying conduct was found to have been within those protected by his First Amendment rights. In 2012 Darren Chaker prevailed on a First Amendment issue before the Texas Attorney where issued Opinion 2012-06088 where he established the right to obtain the names of peace officers regardless of undercover status. The Texas Attorney General opinion has been used as authority thousands of times by citizens and news agencies to learn more about Texas peace officers. In 2016, Darren Chaker was victorious in US v. Chaker (9th Cir. 2016) 654 F.App'x 891, 892. The ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Amendment Coalition, Cato Institute, and the University of Florida reversed a conviction premised on First Amendment rights where blog postings were at issue. In 2017, Darren Chaker prevailed in a RICO lawsuit aimed at suppressing speech filed by San Diego attorney Scott McMillan. In McMillan v. Chaker (S.D.Cal. Sep. 29, 2017, No. 16cv2186-WQH-MDD) 2017 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 163990 the court found by blogging did not constitute extortion as no demand for money to cease blogging was made. The judge found the case to be meritless, stating in part, “The Court concludes that these factual allegations are insufficient to establish that Defendant Darren Chaker obtained something of value from Plaintiffs…. The motion to dismiss the cause of action under 18 U.S.C.§ 1962(c) filed by Defendant Darren Chaker is granted.” In 2020, San Diego attorney Scott McMillan lost a heavily litigated appeal believing the court erred in dismissing his lawsuit against Darren Chaker. Mr. Chaker was represented by former Los Angeles federal judge Stephen Larson. The Ninth Circuit in McMillan v. Chaker (9th Cir. 2020) 791 F.App'x 666, affirmed the dismissal of a RICO lawsuit premised on alleged defamation of Scott McMillan. The court stated in part, “Plaintiffs failed to allege extortionate conduct because there are no allegations that Mr. Chaker obtained property from Plaintiffs that he could “exercise, transfer, or sell. ”See Scheidler, 537 U.S. at 405. Plaintiffs’ claim also fails because there are no allegations to support the “with [Plaintiffs’] consent” element. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., 770 F.3d at 843.” In sum, Scott McMillan filed a lawsuit in direct conflict with established United States Supreme Court precedent and lost – twice. Also, in 2020, Darren Chaker was sued for defamation by Las Vegas attorney Thomas Michaelides. When Darren Chaker became aware of the lawsuit, he retained Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski to defend him. Darren Chaker found a court order Mr. Michaelides submitted to Google that was reported to LumensDataBase.org. Several inconsistencies were noticed on the court order submitted to Google. Most notably the court docket does not show Mr. Michaelides submitted an order to the court for the judge’s signature. The court docket does not reflect the court ever signed the order Mr. Michaelides submitted to Google. Ultimately, the Nevada court dismissed the lawsuit and sanctioned Mr. Michaelides $51,000 for suing Darren Chaker for conduct within his First Amendment rights and for filing a meritless lawsuit. See forged order and judgment against Thomas Michaelides here. Darren Chaker donates time to post-conviction relief organizations to seal arrests and convictions to increase opportunity for those who were convicted of crimes, conducts research and brief writing on First Amendment issues, and also enjoys promoting non-profit organizations such as the ACLU and various domestic violence shelters through his resources within the entertainment industry, including Jason Statham and Eric Roberts. Darren Chaker also enjoys traveling, being a phenomenal father, and forwarding his education with post graduate degree work.

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