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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 28, 2020 10:43 AM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis
To: All House members
Subject: Conviction Integrity - Jailhouse Informant Transparency
­­­­­­­­­In recent years, concerns regarding wrongful convictions based on bogus informant testimony have increased, with many states, including our own, working to overturn wrongful convictions based on new evidence.  With nearly one in five of 367 DNA-based exoneration cases in the United States having had a jailhouse informant be instrumental in their wrongful conviction, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of making this system more transparent and justice-focused.
My legislation, a companion to Senator Hughes’ SB 873, aims to address the use of informant testimonies in any criminal proceeding or capital case.  It would require the prosecution to disclose detailed background on the informant, including any agreements that have been offered in return for their testimony, at least 30 days prior to a relevant hearing or trial.  In addition, my legislation mandates a reliability hearing to be held by the court to prove that the testimony is reliable enough to be used as evidence.
As legislators, it is our duty to protect and serve every Pennsylvanian.  By requiring the use of jailhouse informants to be more transparent, we could prevent wrongful convictions and unnecessary trauma for numerous innocent individuals and their families.  Please join me in supporting our future by co-sponsoring this legislation. 

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