Yesterday, Governor Brown signed into law legislation that will protect innocent people from getting wrongfully convicted based on the say-so of jailhouse informants. The claims of jailhouse informants that a defendant confessed to them are notoriously unreliable. Why? The informant, an inmate himself, will often do anything or say anything in order to get a more lenient sentence.
The new law which goes into effect next year requires that any testimony by jailhouse informants that a defendant “confessed” must by corroborated by other evidence that the defendant committed the crime.
Governor Schwarzenneger had vetoed this legislation. But, Jerry Brown, who previously served as the California Attorney General, realized that this modest reform will do nothing more than help to ensure that criminal convictions are fair and based on fact.