Catching up

I need to get caught up on the Ryan Frederick story as it has been coming hot and heavy over the past week.

First, the VA Pilot confirmed Radley Balko’s assertions that there is a current inmate claiming to have been one of the burglers in the Frederick case who broke into Frederick’s garage a few days before the Police raid. He further claimed that they were being paid by the Chesapeake Police Department to report evidence found during their crimes. They Pilot identified the person in their piece as Renaldo Turbull Jr. which Balko declined to do.

Within days another story came out wherein the Police denied that Turnbull was one of the informants in the Frederick Case and that they have some mysterious evidence of a motivation for Turnbull to have misrepresented himself as one of the burglars. Conveniently, under “confidential informant” rules, they don’t have to reveal the identities of informants, so they can just make that claim without having to prove it one way or the other.

This morning’s story simply reports that Frederick’s laywer has taken the obvious step of petitioning the court to force the prosecution to reveal the identities of the “informants’ since they are not simply providing a tip, but are material witnesses in the case. Personally, I don’t understand how this “confidential informant” angle can be Constitutional in the first place…the sixth amendment is pretty clear on the matter: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted by the witnesses against him [and] to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor…”

Doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room there. But this practice has been going on for quite some time so I imagine that they’ve found some way to creatively interpret the sixth amendment just as they have all the others.

At any rate, that’s where we stand.

We have a witness telling reporters that he was one of the burglars and that he was in the employ of the Chesapeake Police Department, we have the Police denying that he was one of the informants but declining to tell us who those informants were and we have the defense petitioning the court to force the prosecution to reveal the identities of the informants as material witnesses in the case.

Some other coverage:

Disloyal Opposition
Kayak2U Blog
Reason Online

Click on the Ryan Frederick label below to see older posts on this subject.

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