AN ACT TO INCREASE THE RELIABILITY OF IN-CUSTODY INFORMANT STATEMENTS THROUGH THE USE OF PRETRIAL HEARINGS THAT ESTABLISH FACTS SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION OF INADMISSIBILITY.
Enacts new Article 54, Reliability of In-Custody Informant Statements, in GS Chapter 15A, providing as follows.
Prohibits convicting a defendant of an offense or from receiving an aggravated sentence if the only supporting evidence presented is the testimony of an in-custody informant. Requires additional evidence to independently tend to connect the defendant with the offense and include evidence other than the testimony of another in-custody informant. Defines in-custody informant to mean a person, other than a codefendant, percipient witness, accomplice, or co-conspirator, whose testimony is based on statements allegedly made by the defendant while both the defendant and the in-custody informant were held within a city or county jail, a State correctional institution, or otherwise in custody of law enforcement, where statements relate to offenses that occurred outside of the confinement.
Requires notifying the victim if an in-custody informant receives leniency in connection with offering or providing testimony against a suspect or defendant.
Allows redacting the identity of an in-custody informant upon motion of the prosecution and on a showing that the disclosure would endanger the informant, that the informant's service to the state would be undermined, or for other reasons the court finds compelling.
Requires the court to hold a pretrial hearing, which can be waived by the defendant, to determine whether the reliability of the testimony of the in-custody informant is sufficient to overcome a rebuttable presumption of inadmissibility. Sets out additional procedural requirements for such a hearing. Allows the rebuttable presumption of inadmissibilty to be overcome by a determination of reliability by the trial judge after the consideration of 17 listed factors.
When the judge finds the in-custody informant's testimony admissible, the judge must instruct the jury that the informant's testimony is to be scrutinized with regard to reliability and that the jury may consider six specified issues in doing so.
Directs district attorneys to adopt policies and procedures governing the recording and use of testimony.
Provides requirements for recording interviews of in-custody informants. Prohibits destruction or modification of recordings until one year after the completion of all appeals.
Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019.