“[T]here is no constitutional right not to become an informant.”
That's what "Simple Justice" (subtitled, "A Criminal Defense Blog") quoted the federal government as saying.
I like "Simple Justice". Most often, I agree with what Scott Greenfield has to say about the current (in)judicial system. And that's why I'm disappointed with his July 31 post "Snitch or Suffer".
The backstory, that FBI agents put individuals on the "No Fly List" for refusing to become snitches, can be read in detail on http://blog.simplejustice.us/2014/07/31/snitch-or-suffer/, and it should be. And, for clarity, the full sentence to which I refer is "The Justice Department’s motion to dismiss [PDF] plainly argues 'there is no constitutional right not to become an informant.'”
Although that particular language is found in the government's Memorandum Of Law In Support of Motion to Dismiss ("...courts have found, in other contexts, that there is no constitutional right not to be an informant"), it is the argument that follows that disturbs me, and should disturb you.
On pages 53 and 54 of the "gee whiz, they didn't know" Memorandum, the United States' attorney supported the argument that the FBI defendants "are entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established that submitting an individual's name [for inclusion on the "No Fly List" because they refused to snitch] violated any constitutional right"***, followed the language Greenfiled quoted on "Simple Justice" with numerous case citations that "[n]either the Supreme Court nor (any Circuit Court) has ever held that a prisoner enjoys a constitutional right not to become an informant...".
But - and I'm surprised Greenfield didn't make this connection - these men were not prisoners. They were never charged. They were "free".
The government's argument clearly demonstrates that, regardless of our accomodations, in the government's opinion, we're ALL prisoners.
***BTW, a large percentage of Fibbers are law school grads,if not members of "The Bar".
- ► 2012 (28)
- ► 2010 (84)