Monday, September 25, 2006

Call a snitch a snitch

I saw this link on the CrimProf Blog reporting on a presentation at the Santa Clara University Law School called a "Snitch Testimony Conference." I only comment on this because we have had occasional discussions in our office regarding whether it is proper and decorous to call a snitch a "snitch" in a brief or at oral argument. In fact, some COA judges (well, one anyway) has asked that we change our reference at oral argument and call the snitch an "informant." To me that's a crock. A snitch is a special kind of informant and the word has a meaning that should not be watered down. Here is an excerpt from a recent trial transcript:
Q: Detective, what's a snitch?

A: Well, I would call that a street term. Basically, it's a term used to describe someone that provides information to the police. It's not a -- it's not an affectionate term at all. It's something that, you know, the street people do not want to be labeled as a snitch.

I'm glad that CrimProf Blog didn't water it down and call it an "Informant Testimony Conference."

By the way, if anyone wants to sponsor my airfare, I'll be glad to attend this conference and report back. Just call me. Any time. Night or day!

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