Pubdate: Sat, 09 Feb 2002
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2002 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


In his Feb. 4 Commentary column, "Caution with the charges," Paul Craig 
Roberts cited a recent Dallas police scandal that should serve as a wake-up 

The Dallas police exercised questionable judgment in paying $200,000 to a 
confidential informant now accused of buying fake drugs, and this is not an 
isolated incident.

The combination of informants culled from the criminal underworld and 
overzealous anti-drug warriors anxious to increase arrest stats has 
dangerous implications. Whether or not a defendant is actually guilty, the 
informant profits when a conviction is made. This is a dangerous practice. 
It lends itself to entrapment and dishonest testimony.

In perhaps the most notorious case, DEA informant Andrew Chambers promised 
obscene amounts of cash to unsuspecting citizens for (presumably real) 
drugs, earning him $2.2 million courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. He was 
ultimately found to have routinely committed perjury.

In an age when Americans are using more prescription drugs than ever, 
including blatantly recreational drugs such as Viagra, the $50 billion war 
on some drugs threatens the integrity of the criminal justice system.

ROBERT SHARPE Program officer Drug Policy Alliance, Washington
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