First Amendment: Freaked Out Feds Indict Pair for Posting Flyers Naming Snitch

A federal grand jury in Philadelphia Tuesday indicted two people, an accused drug dealer and his girlfriend, for passing out flyers naming a confidential informant in his federal drug case as a snitch. No law protects informants from having their identities made public, but federal prosecutors pushed -- and succeeded -- in this case for an indictment on witness intimidation and conspiracy charges.

The information on the flyers came from the Who's A Rat? web site, which lists information on more than 4,300 informants and 400 undercover officers. US Attorney Patrick Meehan called the web site "the new enemy" of law enforcement and its snitches.

"It's a by-product of the stop-snitching culture that we should all find deeply disturbing," Meehan said at a news conference, and "has the potential to compromise countless prosecutions across the country."

Meehan conceded the web site is protected by the First Amendment, but decided to indict the pair anyway for trying to intimidate witnesses.

The two are Joseph Davis, currently serving a 17-year sentence for PCP trafficking, thanks in part to the informant targeted in the flyers, and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Adero Miwo. Davis and the informant were both indicted in the PCP case, and the informant, known as "D.S." turned state's evidence and testified against Davis.

Davis and Miwo allegedly then distributed flyers naming D.S. as a snitch on windshields, utility poles, and mailboxes in the West Philadelphia neighborhood where he lived. Relying on information posted on Who's A Rat, the pair produced flyers accusing him of informing and showing his photo, along with the following comment: "This guy is a drunk, and heavy weed smoker, and a recognized car thief among his peers. He is the one who needs to be taken off the streets," according to court documents.

Davis, who is already behind bars, faces up to another 10 years in prison, while Miwo faces up to three years.

Law enforcement authorities across the US have complained loudly that the "stop snitching" movement that has spread around the country is preventing them from solving crimes. Who's a Rat isn't helping, they complain.

Such web sites show a "profound lack of respect" for the legal system, complained JP Weis, head of the Philadelphia FBI office. "The warped message" on city streets, he said, "is that it's somehow worse to provide information about a crime than it is to actually commit a crime." And that, Weis said, is "mind-boggling."

Neither Weis nor Meehan addressed why there is a "profound lack of respect" for the legal system or what role the drug war, much of it built around coercing people into becoming informants, has to do with the situation.

Who's a Rat spokesman Chris Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the web site posts public information submitted by others and is protected by the First Amendment. Brown said he "can't believe that someone got indicted for hanging a flyer" and that such publicity only "makes the site that much more popular."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Who's a Rat

If they really wanted this to be a public service, you wouldn't have to pay then to see the list of rats.

Freedom of Speech and of the Press

I am astonished to hear that publications, protected under the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, can be chilled and infringed by the state under circumstances in this case.

What if the New York Times had done the publication? Would it be in the same position? If not, then there is a palpable infringement on the freedom of speech and of the press we assume applies to everyone equally under the 14th Amendment.

Snitch testimony not reliable

The word 'snitch" should be reserved for a witness who testifies for the prosecutors in the hope that he will be treated more leniently. The word has been diminished greatly by applying it to witnesses in general.

Dangers of Terminology

While it may be true that the terms 'snitching' or 'ratting' should be reserved specifically for those who provide information to the authorities to save themselves, the terms have come to mean providing any information to or cooperation with the authorities whatsoever. This broad stigma takes the notion too far, further seperating the courts and communities, perpetuating a culture of fear and animosity. I feel that clarification is needed with regard to this issue; The 'snitching' taboo is much more far reaching than drug cases alone- it extends to providing the authorities with ANY information at all no matter what the circumstances. The end results of the 'stop snitching' taboo is the proliferation of 'street justice' or simply no justice at all.

Snitches Are Cowards

Snitches 9 times out of ten are doing it to help themselves but the Government recruits them to help convict in a big drug cases. It is called paying the witness, it happens all the time with NO repercussions to the SNITCH or the Prosecutors. That is call our justice system in America today. It should be legal to post flyers and billboards with their face plastard all over it, if they snitch then that is the consequences they should have to deal with!

Public Service still costs cash

We should fear a "stop snitching" culture more than we fear law enforcement's "gotcha, you're going to prison now!" culture? Cops are very proud of the Supreme Court's announcement they have the right to lie, so why should we believe anything that proud liars say? It is law enforcement and the war on (insert political money-maker here) that are promoting our profound disrespect for the System, SAIC Weis -- it is you disrespecting US, SAIC Weis, shame on you and your shield-packing thugs!!

EJ Hurst II, Attorney at Law
550M Ritchie Highway, PMB 124
Severna Park, Maryland 21146
(859) 361-8000
[email protected]
http://www.victorvillefoia.org

Stop Snitching

The Stop Snitching Movement isnt about making snitching worse than the crime. Its primarily about offenders doing their own time for the crimes that they commit. If you are caught commiting a crime, you should accept your punishment without having the option to lessen your sentence for telling on somebody else. Law enforcements using the "rat" tactic, in my opinion, only allows them to be lazy about catching criminals on their own. If someone causes harm to me or my family, i dont want them to have the option of getting a lesser prison sentence just because they "snitched" on someone else. Bottom line, if you are going to commit crimes, own up and take your own punishment. "Ratting" actually puts peoples lives in danger, but something tells me that the Law doesn't care much.

Stop Snitching Causes More Harm Than Good

Though it is understandable that some folks feel that the 'snitching' or 'ratting' is an undesirable practice, the notion of making public the names of those who engage in the practice, for whatever reason, is unfair and detrimental with potentially horrible consequences. 'Snitching' has come to be seen as the lowest, most morally reprehensible act in which an individual can participate, and publicizing the names of those who provide information to the legal system is simply a vehicle for retribution and retaliation. The fear of that unfair and harsh retribution (that can often result in loss of life) hampers and impedes investigations into the worst crimes imaginable. Recently in Queens, NY, a stray bullet from a gang confrontation struck a four year old girl in the head, resuling in her death. This event transpired in broad daylight with approximately 30 witnesses in the immediate vacinity. When investigators arrived on the scene to determine who was responsible for this heinous act, none of the 30 witnesses would speak up, citing the 'Stop Snitching' philosophy as the main motivator. A mother will never be able to know or bring to justice the murderer of her child because of a societal taboo. This is morally reprehensible.

Though I certianly concede that the use of informants, and confidential informants (CI's) by detectives makes for lazy police work, those put in the position of acting as a CI are placed in the most dangerous of positions, knowing that death is a very real consequence if they are discovered. They infiltrate dangerous operations such as gangs and gun runners and provide curial information in the prosecution of idividuals engaed in organizations that provide a real threat to the public. They are often in the most dire of circumstances and see this undesirable path as their only option. If they are arrested with others in the organizations that they are infiltrating, they are afforded no protection by the detectives whose dirty work they are doing. Punishing these individuals by publicizing their names and pictures insures that thier fate will involve retribution in the worst ways imaginable.

Snitching

Is a complicated subject. When it comes to drug deals is scales very close to entrapment. The snicth owes the government, they send him out to entrap anyone who trusts him, you owe us...so he's back out on the street wired,enlisting other to do deals to save his neck. I know this to true because my son is now serving time because of a snitch. He was enticed by the lure of quick money and was a popular DJ in the area, all he need do was ask around and he was able to obtain what the snitch needed. that a long story short, but in the end my son is now serving 15yrs mandatory minimum sentence for a first offender, the snitch is out doing his thing and the co conspirators in my sons case, the guys who provided,cooked,supplied the drugs, worked with the government supplied what they needed to save the necks and only recieved 7 yrs and they are the career criminals. So wheres the justice in that?
I say rat out the snitches.

snitches

i say the same rat out the snitches they are no gooders that cant take the time for the crime ! these are indaviduals that are ruining others lifes for ther personal gain be it money or time off their sentince they are no good persons that need to be beat to a inch of their life and left for dead !!!

The Stop Snitching Post certainly rings true.

How many scared young teenagers fall victim to being used by the police in this fashion and are then left out on the street to fend for themselves vililfied by all concerned even the police who use them. These people are victims of the war on drugs as well and would not be placed in such a horrendeous situation if the war on drugs was brought to an end. There ought to be some sort of law against such practices by the police as they serve no one's interests except perhaps the career's of the cops who use them.

Anononymous

RE: Stop Snitching does more harm than good.

IF they snitch than they must face whatever is put before them. That is the chances they take. Most help themselves and LIE look how many people are exonerated but spend half their lives in prison for something they did not do. If it happened to you than you would know. My child is spending 10 years in prison for SOME SNITCH that has lied his you know what off and is getting a sentence reduction and he had NOTHING to do with the case. The Government approached him to testify for a time cut because their case was weak against her, That is our so called Justice Department and they allow it and encourage it so don't feel sorry for the "SNITCH" and their safety, they should think about their actions before ruining someone else's lives first. They must face their lies in the face.

Stop SNithcing

One of the most destructive effects of the Drug War is the Ratting of family, friends and the aura of distrust that that engenders. The problem is , someone who informs on a heinous, intentional murder is very different than someone who rats a dealer. One is a good citizen, hthe other is a rat. Maybe those who don't want to rat on killers prefer to deal with the killers themselves.

Leagalize Marijuana

If the government legalized marijuana, they would turn millions of "criminals" into law abiding citizens overnight which I am sure would take a lot of steam out of the stop snitching movement. It is time for legislator to wake up!

Stop Snitching

Aren't these some of the same tactics the Nazi's used to find "undesirable elements in society" so that they could be exterminated? I don't like what our once proud nation has become.

Nobody expects the American Inquisition

It's actually more like the Spanish Inquisition. One of the reasons it got totally out-of-hand was that the search for heretics, witches and warlocks was combined with very lucrative confiscation/seizure laws and very high penalties.

The nasty thing is that once you *create* an industry, that industry tends to begin to live a life of its own.

It is far too much in the interest of the seizure-financed police squads to arrest people and inflate the number of people involved in these "drug crimes". So they have power, incentive and some very plausible threats against those they arrest and indict. And then people caught with two joints starts naming friends and family because they're genuinely scared of spending the rest of their LIFE behind bars.

And amidst all this no one asks whether the action of smoking a joint should even be a punishable offense. And no one seems to remember the rules against "unusual and cruel punishment".

Rats

There is a war going on and it is called the drug war and it is a war on americans ,funded by americans. I want to know my enemies. As some wit said ..".know thine enemy well". Yes I know we must apply the same tactics,and go even further. Showing these narcs faces and anything else about them will help protect all of us... Friends ,neighbors, family. Then maybe Jimmy Hendrix song where he sings "you cant trust your neighbors, you can't trust your friends" {Can't remerber the title }, will no longer be the norm, hopefully! Bring the cowards out of the closit, we have been paying them long enough to rat on ourselvs. I want to know all I can know about my enemies and it probably will be a lot less expensive than not knowing... don't remain ignorant find out" whos a rat," its your right... Verena

Lesser of two evils

My problem with the use of informants is the fact that the snitches are more likely than not guilty of heavier, more serious crimes than their victims---so this practice is leading to taking the "lesser of two evils" off of the streets...Not what i thought the whole point of our justice system is supposed to be.

Informant lied on me...my ex.

 

For ten years I was the victim of an abusive relationship with a man named James Richard Casey, otherwise known as Ricky Ratt. He slept around with at least seven other women that I know of. He loved his porn, tried to get me to have threesomes with other men and tried to pimp me out to his sleazy friends. When of course I didn’t cooperate, he accused me of sleeping around on him. It was a constant fight. He was an alcoholic, drug addict, drug dealer and thief. He treated our children like servants and frequently called our oldest daughter names like “little bitch”. She was the one who saw right through Ricky. I was co-dependent. I was an idiot. I am over that now.  

            In 2004, he got so violent with me that I kicked him down the stairs, and the kids and I finally escaped his twisted clutches. I was done. I left him on August 4, 2004. It was our anniversary.

            He stalked me for all hours of the day and night. I filed for a VPO and before I could go to court I was told by a cop that I would be denied because he was an informant for the DA, and he told me that I better have proof. I didn’t get the VPO. It was no secret he was an informant…thus his name, Ricky Ratt. I felt defeated. I moved in with my aunt next door to the courthouse. The authorities sat there and watched him man-handle me right in front of the house one day shortly after I left him. He drove by a hundred times a day, but he wasn’t technically on the property. He was in the street, so there was nothing they could do. I felt like I couldn’t win.

            When my kids and I moved in with my aunt, my cousin and my sister were living there too.  Ricky continued to harass me by calling and cussing me whenever he got a chance. He was obsessed. For 6 months he would follow me everywhere I went, driving by many times while I was there. He followed my sister whenever he would lose track of me for a minute, because she lived with me. I have a recording of him cussing me on the phone from the many times he called to harass me. He broke a friend of the family’s tail light on his brand new Mustang, and he paid for the damage so our friend wouldn’t call the cops. He thought I was sleeping with this friend of the family. My aunt had to threaten him with the police and the incidences eventually dwindled.

            I filed for divorce and got full custody of my kids. Thank God. He was to pay $300 in child support every month for our two children, and the kids had to continue seeing him by order of the court. He lied and said he didn’t have a job. I knew differently. I got proof of him working under the table and had my child support raised to $400 a month. My oldest couldn’t stand going to see him. He was cruel to her, and he treated the youngest like a princess. She didn’t know any better. She cleaned his house for him, cleaned out his truck or whatever he needed done around the house. He also took her to work and had her doing his job for a dollar or two to buy candy. He claimed he was teaching her good work ethics. She was 6 years old.

            One time the kids came home from visiting him telling me all about their adventures at the local bar. It had a shuffleboard game in it. They got to sit at the bar and eat Cheetos. I was very upset over that one. Later, he was stopped for my kids not having their seatbelts on and arrested for having crack and a crack pipe in the car. I was 2 miles away, and he lied and said I was out of town so that I wouldn’t find out.

            After a while of visiting Ricky, there was also a suspicion of child molestation with my older daughter. She said something to my cousin one day that gave her the impression Ricky had touched her in a bad way. I took my daughter to the police station where we talked to Damon Deveraux, the Chief of Police in Guthrie. There was supposedly an investigation. DHS spent 10 minutes interviewing Ricky and was convinced that he didn’t do it. The lady in turn questioned me on whether I was out to get him or not. I was livid. The case was closed after that, and my daughter still had to continue seeing this man she hated. She was 11years old.

            In 2005 I moved out of my aunt’s house and into my own home with my girls. Ricky started stalking me again, but was behaving otherwise. Then one night I was awakened by the sound of some drunken, shouting bastard on my porch trying to get in. It was Ricky. I called 911 for help telling them to hurry I needed help. She heard him kicking the door, and had to clarify that was what she was hearing over the phone. I thought he would kill me that night if he made it through my door. He went to try to get in through the window, but luckily he fell off the porch and hit his head. I felt the vibration in my feet inside the house when he hit the concrete. I was hoping he had a concussion. By the time the cops showed up he was nowhere to be found. I filed a report and nothing else ever came of it. He still showed up to pick up his kids a week later.

            There was also a time when the 89er Celebration was in town, and Ricky was there drunk when my sister and I went to the carnival to check out the food. We spotted him as we were leaving, or rather we heard him behind us as we were walking to the car. He was shouting vulgarities at me as we walked. I ignored him and just tried to get to the car. The closer we got to the car, the closer he got to us. When he appeared in my face all of a sudden, my sister was all over him. I had never heard such profanities come out of her mouth. (She is married to a cop now by the way.) She turned into a mad cat before 2 big black men stepped in. Someone had already gone to find the cops, and Ricky took off walking. I thanked the men, and then my old friend from high school, Chief Damon Deveraux showed up. He caught up with Ricky…and made him pour his beer out and promise to leave me alone.

            Then there was the day I went to pick up my kids in Silver Valley where Ricky had taken the kids to his friend Larry Pruitt’s house. When I arrived, I discovered Larry was loaded on some kind of drug and both of them were intoxicated. I was not happy, and I let him know about it. Not a good idea. The girls and I rushed to get in the car with my sister who was driving. I saw Ricky running after me, so I rolled the window up just in time to stop his fist from hitting me. I yelled at my sister to “GO!” and she didn’t hesitate. I’m not sure, but I think we ran over his toe….I hoped. And the kids had to go back to him 2 weeks later by court order. I didn’t even bother calling my friend Damon this time.

            Later in 2005, I met a wonderful man named Will, whom I am still with today. We eventually moved in with him, and I thought life would be better for all of us after that. I was wrong. Will came home one day from work to find his door had been kicked in and money stolen. Will filed a report, but nothing came of it. This happened right before we moved in. I wonder who the perpetrator could have been. Hmm.

            Shortly after we moved in, Ricky’s nephew Michael Youngblood (who is no better than Ricky) showed up at my door wanting to know if I had any drugs I could sell him. He had just gotten out of prison. I figured Ricky sent him. I told him to get lost and I had nothing for him. Will and I do not do drugs, much less sell them. I am sure that Ricky told him otherwise though. He has always told other people that I am a drug addict, drug dealer and a whore. I always hated hearing these rumors…another reason I’m glad I left him. He is delusional. I can’t count how many times he accused me of cheating on him. The night I left him he was sure there was a man hiding in the closet, but insisted he got away by the time he looked. The man is nuts. He is a sociopath. I am just waiting for a psychiatrist to prove it.

            After being with Will for a while, he had taken me and the kids on some summer vacations. We got to see the mountains in Colorado and fell in love with them. We returned home and found ourselves missing the mountains. So, we decided we wanted to move there. Of course, when Ricky found this out he was not happy…but he didn’t say a word to me about it. Weird. I was expecting to get into it with him about it. I did give him 30 days’ notice required by law and told him he could have the kids for a month and a half in the summer.

Before the 30 days were up, our home was raided by the police. The search warrant shows that they were looking for guns, drugs, ledgers, scales and paperwork pertaining to it all. What?! They were demanding to know where the guns and drugs were. When they found a joint in my pocket the cop said, “See this? This is what we are looking for!” Well, he found it…and a box that supposedly smells like pot. Wow…you would have thought I was a dangerous criminal from the way he was talking to us. My husband and I were planted on the couch with our hands handcuffed behind our backs. I was sobbing, and my kids were clinging to me even though I couldn’t hold them. My youngest asked me, “Why are they doing this mom?” All I could say was “I don’t know baby. We didn’t do anything wrong.” My kids were taken from me. Luckily, Will’s mother came to get them, but we still weren’t allowed to see them. She followed the rules, and I got my kids back 3 days later.

            We were booked and printed at the police station. Then we were taken to the Sheriff’s station where we were booked and printed again. The only 2 females there were anxious to get home when we walked in. Apparently, their shift was over. Only females can search a female, so I got stripped and cavity searched immediately when I walked in. Will didn’t have to go through that. We were bailed out within a few hours and there was obvious surprise on the cop’s face when we asked for our keys. We were free to go. They wasted their time and money. We aren’t drug dealers.

            Now, I am sure you may be wondering how this could possibly happen to us? Allow me to elaborate. Ricky, who hasn’t stepped foot in my house for the last 5 years, who is a well-known informant in town, who is allowed to drink, do drugs, sell drugs, run a chop shop (which I forgot to tell you about in which case he turned state’s witness on his friend in order to get the charges dropped) , beat women, molest children and possibly get away with murder (Larry Pruitt whose death was not investigated)…picked up a phone and said, “I think Will and Kelley are big time drug dealers.” , and the cops went running. According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, Officer Tracey Lyons of Guthrie Oklahoma received a phone call from an informant, he searched our trash out on the curb, found some stems and seeds, and apparently that is enough to get a warrant. What is amazing is that we were so paranoid about just smoking a joint in the privacy of our own home that we were throwing our stems and seeds out in the yard. There weren’t any stems or seeds in the trash. There was no surveillance. There was no buy with any marked money, because there was no buy at all. WE DON’T SELL DRUGS and never have. Of course, the police are going to take the word of their informant who has been so trustworthy on so many other cases. Yeah, right. I wonder how many other people are in prison because of this lying bastard. How do I prove it, though?

            Even though the jerk is bragging to all of his friends about calling the DA to drop our names and hounding my kids for information about the layout of our house…in order for anyone of any authority to even hear what I have to say to prove my innocence, I would have to get Ricky on the stand in a court of law to expose him. Of course, the courts won’t allow that. After we spent over $7000 already and flew back and forth from Colorado 6 times, we were broke. During the last court date, we had a choice of spending thousands more and taking 12 more trips to fight it in front of a Bible belt jury who may or may not have sympathy for a pot smoker…or we could take a plea. We took a plea. We can’t afford to fight this. I think that is what they were counting on. When it was all over, we had to pay about $500 each in fines, all the court fees (which was $240 each court date), fees for various funds such as a victim’s fund, take a drug evaluation including a hair follicle test  and do 25 hours of community service. We paid all but $366 before we even left the court house. That is all they could stick us with since we live in Colorado which happens to be a medical marijuana state. It is legal here, and I have my medical marijuana card.  We are not breaking the law in Colorado. I wonder what kind of look I will get when I go get my drug evaluation for traces of marijuana where it is perfectly legal to smoke marijuana. They are going to be expecting some kind of meth or cocaine in my system. That is funny to me, but oh well. I’m just going to get it done and over with. We are putting this behind us and giving Guthrie the finger all the way home.

            Needless to say, a month after we got home from the raid, we packed up our things and were out of there. The day before we were to pull away in the moving truck, a man walked up while we were loading the last few items on the truck, and handed me a summons. I thought, “Oh God, what now?!” You aren’t going to believe this. Ricky was taking me to court to try to stop me from moving to Colorado with the kids. We still left. We took great care in stopping at the border to say good-bye…birdy style. We were done.

            I flew back to appear in court. I told the judge about the month and a half for summer I offered Ricky and he turned to Ricky and said, “Well then what is the problem?” Ricky stormed out of the court room before the judge dismissed us from the podium. I won that one. Thank God for small miracles. I left the courtroom smiling for once. I didn’t get to make Ricky eat crow on the stand. I didn’t have the money to fight it, but he didn’t get the kids either…I win this time.

            For those of you who don’t know what an informant does…let me explain. Ricky is a drug addict. He does his drugs, and he sells his drugs. When he gets caught he has to give up a name to the authorities of someone else they can bust in order to get his sentence reduced or dropped (like the chop shop). Well, when he does this so many times people start to figure out what he is, and obviously they don’t deal with him anymore…he’s a narc. So, the last time he got busted he had no more names to give to the cops. He has been doing this for years in a very small town. It was inevitable. There’s no one left to rat on. He still has a certain amount of time to help the cops bust someone else. When his time was about to run out, and I was thoroughly ticking him off with my not cooperating with his wishes, he had to come up with a name. So, he gave them Will’s name. I guess he thought I wouldn’t make that connection if he sent them after my husband instead of me. Since he has done this so many times, the cops didn’t even bother to investigate. They took him for his word and here Will and I go off to jail, just barely making Ricky’s deadline. Wasn’t that convenient for Ricky? He is free to torment me and my kids, and we got run out of town. He knows how to work the system. That is how the system works. If you do the crime, you don’t have to do the time if you blame someone else…this time it was innocent people. Ricky is using the system for his own vendettas, and he needs to do his time. It is long overdue.

            Today, my family and I are happier than we have ever been. We live in a beautiful 1800 sf home in an immaculate neighborhood where the girls go to 5 star schools and are flourishing more than ever before. The girls have good friends, are popular, making good grades, active at the rec center and other school activities and are not having to deal with anymore drama. Will is going to school for his mechanical engineering degree, and I am going to school for my computer systems engineering degree. In about 4 years we will both be making 6 figure salaries.

            I may have lost the battle in Guthrie, but instead I am writing it all down and getting it out there so that maybe he can’t do this to anyone else. I am a computer engineer. I will get it out there on the world-wide web. This is my only defense against a man who almost destroyed me. I can only hope that someday…he will rot in hell.   

Ricky hasn’t paid child support in a year. He only paid a payment every so often when it suited him before that anyway. He doesn’t know where I live now, and he doesn’t have my number. I feel safe from him at the moment. To this day he continues to be an informant for Guthrie, Oklahoma. He is very charming, and has them wrapped around his pinky finger. I can’t fight the whole town. Frankly, I am tired of wasting my time and energy on even the thought of Ricky…Ricky who?

 

 

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