In September 1991, Greg Taylor, a Greensboro native, got his Nissan Pathfinder stuck in mud on an evening when he was smoking crack with a friend. When a prostitute was found dead nearby, Taylor became an immediate suspect. He was convicted in 1993 largely on the strength of testimony from two jailhouse informants. In 2010, DNA evidence overturned Taylor’s conviction and he walked out of prison a free man. The state of North Carolina eventually paid Taylor a $4.6 million settlement.
Considering the inherent unreliability of testimony from informants who are incentivized to give false witness by to get their own sentences reduced, lawmakers should be eager to implement reforms on the use of so-called “snitch testimony” to prevent innocent people from going to prison, to ensure that the actual perpetrators of heinous crimes don’t remain on the loose and