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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Unlawful testimony of Stasi like informants

Unlawful testimony of Stasi like informants is an abomination. It is in the exact vein of the Leninist Marxist Stalinist Neighborhood Community Tribunals - the neighborhood spies and finks that ratted out with a huge collection of lies, innocent people whose only crime was to be Christian and tell the truth about what was going on, in the Tyrannical Dictatorial Communist Russian Gulag State.

The Stasi - Stasimuseum Berlin - Forschungs- und Gedenkst├Ątte Normannenstra├če

House 1 - The headquarter of the State Security
Considering itself the "shield and sword of the party" it was from this compound that the Stasi conducted its nearly 40-year-long fight against the so called enemies of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) - against those who refused to follow the guidelines of the regime, against those who did not conform to its ideas of a human being.
The centrepiece of the highly secured compound was "house 1", constructed in 1960. It was built as the seat of the offices of the Minister of State Security. From 1957 to 1989 the head of the Stasi was Erich Mielke.
After citizens occupied the premises in January 1990, the Association for Anti-Stalinist Action (ASTAK e.V.) opened "house 1" on the 7th of November 1990 as research and memorial site. The former headquarters of the secret police were now open to the public. The minister's offices ("the Mielke suite"), the offices of those of his inner circle as well as the conference room and lounge have been almost completely preserved in their original condition.
After substantial renovation, "house 1" was reopened in January 2012 with temporary exhibitions provided by the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records (BStU) and ASTAK e.V. A new joint permanent exhibition "State Security in the GDR" is in preparation an sheduled zo open by the end of 2013.

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 All copyrighted sources are quoted and used for comment and education in accord with the nonprofit provisions of: Title 17 U.S.C., Section 107 and is protected under "Fair Use."

Snitching: The Institutional and Communal Consequences

Alexandra Natapoff 

Loyola Law School Los Angeles

University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 73, 2004 

The use of criminal informants in the U.S. justice system has become a flourishing socio-legal institution. Every year, tens of thousands of criminal suspects, many of them drug offenders concentrated in inner-city neighborhoods, informally negotiate away liability in exchange for promised cooperation, while law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels rely on ever greater numbers of criminal actors in making basic decisions about investigations and prosecutions. While this marriage of convenience is fraught with peril, it is nearly devoid of judicial or public scrutiny as to the propriety, fairness, or utility of the deals being struck. At the same time, it is a quintessential expression of some of the most contentious characteristics of the modern criminal system: law enforcement discretion, secrecy, and the increasing informality of the adjudication process.

The informant institution is also an under-appreciated social force in low-income, high-crime, urban communities in which a high percentage of residents - as many as fifty percent of African American males in some cities - are in contact with the criminal justice system and therefore potentially under pressure to snitch. By relying heavily on snitching, particularly in drug-related cases, law enforcement officials create large numbers of informants who remain at large in the community, engaging in criminal activities while under pressure to provide information about others. These snitches are a communal liability: they increase crime and threaten social organization, interpersonal relationships, and socio-legal norms in their home communities, even as they are tolerated or under-punished by law enforcement because they are useful.

This Article conceptualizes the informant institution as an engine of the modern criminal system, both in its operation and its expressive value. Informing shapes the practice of plea bargaining, it heavily influences prosecutorial discretion, and is a major symptom of the increasingly administrative, non-public, non-adversarial nature of the U.S. justice system. For all these reasons, the informant institution has a potentially significant normative impact on systemic legal values; the expressive value of the widespread practice of rewarding criminals even as they continue to commit crimes warrants careful scrutiny.

The Article also hypothesizes the harms imposed by the informant institution on socially disadvantaged, high-crime communities in which snitching is common. These harms may include increased crime, the erosion of trust in interpersonal, familial and community relationships and other psychological damage created by pervasive informing, the communal loss of faith in the state, and the undermining of law-abiding norms flowing from law enforcement's rewarding of and complicity in snitch wrongdoing.

Because what ails the informant institution is centrally a function of the increasingly secretive discretionary exercise of criminal law enforcement authority, the Article proposes reforms primarily of the sunshine variety. The reforms aim to reduce the secretiveness and lack of accountability surrounding the informal adjudication of informant liability, and to increase legislative control over and public awareness of this quintessentially secretive executive practice.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60
Accepted Paper Series 

Download This Paper

Date posted: November 1, 2004  

Suggested Citation

Natapoff, Alexandra, Snitching: The Institutional and Communal Consequences. University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 73, 2004. Available at SSRN: