Law Enforcement: Florida House Passes Watered Down "Rachel's Law" in Bid to Protect Informants from Dangerous Assignments

Inspired by the murder of Florida State University graduate Rachel Hoffman, 23, after Tallahassee police sent the small-time pot dealer out with $13,000 to buy cocaine and guns from people she didn't know, the Florida House of Representatives Monday passed a bill that would require police departments to protect confidential informants. But the measure was considerably weakened after law enforcement lobbyists protested it could weaken their ability to wage the drug war.
Rachel Hoffman
Hoffman had been busted on small-time marijuana dealing charges and was on probation when she was busted again in 2007. Rather than face the threat of probation violation and prison time, the young woman agreed to work as a confidential informant for the Tallahassee Police Department. Her body was found in May 2007, 36 hours after she went to meet the drug dealers and lost contact with her police supervisors.

In its current form, the bill, HB 271, would require departments to have written policies on confidential informants and to train officers on those policies. It would also require departments to "consider" factors such as an informant's age and maturity, whether the informant is in drug treatment, and the risk of physical harm.

Hoffman's parents and the bill's sponsor, Rep. Peter Nehr (R-Tarpon Springs), wanted to bar police from using people in drug treatment as informants and from using nonviolent informants to try to entrap people with violent criminal histories. The original version of the bill would also have required police to tell potential snitches they had the right to talk to a lawyer before agreeing to work with police.

But law enforcement lobbyists, including the Florida Sheriffs Association, prevailed in watering down the bill. They told legislators any restrictions would discourage recruitment of snitches and deny them a valuable crime-fighting tool.

"Any one of these things would have saved Rachel's life," Margie Weiss, Rachel's mother, told the Pensacola News Journal after a committee meeting earlier this month where the bill was gutted.

"Rachel Hoffman's death was unnecessary and unneeded," said Nehr after the measure passed the House.

The measure as passed won't provide as much protection to informants as the original bill, but it at least serves notice to law enforcement that it needs to consider more than just making the next drug bust. It now goes to the state Senate.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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I cannot believe what the Tallahassee Police Department is doing. What the hell were they thinking? How many more people have they used to do there dirty work? This practice has got to stop before more innocent people go down for something that is wrong to begin with the war on drugs.

Window Dressing...

the proposed new law is "window dressing", for it has no teeth in it to sanction the incompetent or corrupt law enforcement agents involved. Who in the Hell polices the police?

Silly citizen

Police don't like p o l i c i n g.



2 sided coin

Why I feel what they did with Rachel is wrong here in Meigs county Ohio their little snitch {CI} has been turned loose for no less than 8 felonies and let to continue to deal so they can bust people leaving her home and now she has caused a traffic accident that has claimed 2 lives and the cover up is on she has not been charged and they found crack in the car and her system.So when do they draw the line on these corrupt cops that use people in their never ending and unwinnable war on drugs that involves the lives of innocent people.To verify what I say you can check docket. type in name hill and look under brandi to see a copy of the record of charges that have been dismissed

Police protecting the public?

Oh, please!!!!

Seriously, she agreed to be

Seriously, she agreed to be a snitch. She was given the option between serving time and working as a snitch. She chose to be a snitch. She chose to be there. She could have backed out before the sting happened. It is tragic that she lost her life, but she made the choice to be there. She made that choice because she made the choice to be stupid and break the law in the first place. She broke it, she was caught, and then she continued to break it. I am sorry, but she made a series of wrong decisions. They are her responsibility. The police did not force her into that situation, she chose it. People need to get over blaming everyone else for their own piss poor decisions. I am truly sorry for her family's loss, but do we make up new laws because someone's kid is shot by police while running into a bank with a gun? No, we say that its tragic and we feel pity for the family, but the kid made a terrible choice. Why should we make up new laws to protect people who choose to continue to make terrible choices? The fact is she broke the law repeatedly, under her own choice. Then she chose to be a snitch so as to try to save her own hide. Then she messed up in the sting. Did the cops botch their side, probably, but she made the choice to be there.

Don't even go there!!

You have got to be kidding about this crap by implying that she made a choice and got her justice based on that choice. Yes she broke the law and should have her day in court for doing so. But to take a kid like that and coerce them into such a dangerous position does not in any way serve the publics best interest. Nor the interest of the offender involved. The war on drugs is a war that creates victims rather then protecting anybody. Shame on you for speaking otherwise.

officer askedme to make buy

officer ask me to make buy or take charge of less than 20grams i wouldnt do it he charged me the charge was dropped but 7months later they charged me with paraphanilia all this is done to get a charge to stick police n state atty's here are the criminals in this town they are in cahoots with dirty cops and don't throw out bad arrests i was arrested during a time when they were picking people up on warrants and this particular cop wanted to be in the limelite the whole police station is known for covering up each others untasteful arrests never protecting the public no one knows how to handle the old boys network here and it is a crying shame the police station has never solved a murder or drug bust without a snitch imagine how many people are caught up in thier web of deceit in perry florida and destroying peoples lives with their lies i ask for an investigation for the copcam to prove he ask me to make the buy he then admitted it in the investigation so that the tape they said was not on and only gave him a repremend in his file for supposedly not having the cam on during my arrest the question is i didnt know a officer could turn it on and off i thought the captain was over that but thats what report say if anyone know a lawyer please call me 

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