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Ethical Issues in the Use of Confidential Informants for Narcotic Operations and Failing the Victim in Enforcement of a Protection from Abuse Order

Confidential informants are crucial to many law enforcement investigations and are especially essential in the field of narcotics investigations. Informants can provide specific information that is simply not available from other sources. However, the informants are often criminals themselves; if not properly managed, they can render a law enforcement investigation useless, destroy an agency’s credibility, and even endanger officers’ lives. To use confidential informants successfully, agencies must develop formal and sound informant control procedures.

When working with informants, narcotics investigators are constantly faced with ethical questions. Narcotics investigations often use confidential informants to lead investigators to their key targets; they are the insiders to the drug world and have the ability to go places and speak with people inaccessible to the police. Informants work within an illegal enterprise system and therefore are for the most part involved in illegal activities.

But the protection of a person who is your confidential informant should never preclude the enforcement of a Protection from Abuse Order from the Domestic Relations Court by any police officer for the protection of the Victim against her Aggressor.  Judges decide the law and the applications of said law from their courtrooms following the Civil and Criminal Rules of Procedure.  The police’s job is to uphold and enforce the laws in their state under any jurisdiction as long as there is an active order in place.

Confidential sources frequently derive from the same criminal pool that police work hard to arrest. These informants can range from petty thieves to violent career offenders. More times than not, they supply police with information merely in an attempt to “work off” their own criminal actions.

 It can be an internal struggle for police officers to know that they are helping known criminals to secure an earlier release from jail or to avoid jail time altogether. Investigators must weigh the benefit of the information informants provide against the crimes they have committed. Because informants may attempt to continue to use and deal drugs and commit other crimes in their neighborhoods while providing intelligence to the police, investigators must make it clear that they will not tolerate any further violations and that informants will be arrested if found continuing to engage in illegal activities.

At times, drug investigators must work with and befriend drug users, prostitutes, burglars, and con artists in order to reach the desired outcome—to get the worst of the worst off the streets. Narcotics investigators have to maintain a sort of temporary, fictitious friendship with informants knowing that their only goal is to obtain valuable information. It can be easy for officers to let that relationship slip to a personal level, but they must refrain from doing so at all costs.

Such is my personal situation with this issue: I obtained a divorce finally after four years of emotional, mental and physical abuse at the hands of a chronic substance abuser/alcoholic with severe untreated mental illnesses at the time I filed for divorce.  I applied for a Temporary Protection Order and received it on June 20, 2015. 

On August 25, 2015, I was provided with a permanent Protection from Abuse Order, with a designated third party to be covered under this order, and it is effective until December 31, 2099.

My ex-husband is also a former inmate of the Michigan Department of Corrections from 1989 to 1999 on a 9-20 years sentence for armed robbery, burglary and grand theft auto, all in pursuit of mighty dollar to purchase his drugs of choice – heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine and marijuana – which he has been a medically documented chronic abuser of both drugs and alcohol since 1984. 

My ex-husband, Tim Biron, became a confidential informant in September 2013 after stealing 100 of my prescription for Lortabs and selling them to drug dealers at the Sky Inn Motel in Woodlawn, AL in exchange for crack cocaine. I had filed a police report on the theft – Case #2013-208143 and instead of Tim being arrested for illegal possession of a controlled substance, theft of a controlled substance or distribution of a controlled substance, Detective Pitts of the Birmingham Police Department told the police officer who responded to my telephone call to “make this an domestic incident report” instead of a report that a warrant could have been obtained against my ex-husband.

Over the years from 2010-2013, I had to call the police on 15 separate occasions concerning my ex-husband. From 2013-2014, I called 26 more times and it is still continuing to this day.  The latest has been illegal possession and fraudulent of my credit card that he stole from my locked safe prior to our separation in August 2014 and used in December 2014 and beyond.

My ex-husband stalked me during the enforced separation for my divorce action and after the divorce was finalized and a permanent Protection from Abuse Order was issued. He has continued to harass, menace, assault and trespass against me since January 1, 2015 and so far I cannot get justice.

The crux of the problem is that Tim will violate the protection order in blatant ways and because of his past relationship as a confidential informant for the BPD – it is an open secret in my neighborhood among the drug community – the police will not arrest him for violations of the PFA.  The only time that he has been arrested for violation of the PFA was on July 4, 2014 when he trespassed on my property and I telephoned the police as he kept knocking on my door and refusing to leave after several verbal attempts on my part to get him to remove himself from my property.

What is actually astonishing to me is that Tim has been on probation for Intentional Violation of the Protection Order from the July 4 incident and was re-arrested in September 2014 but his probation was not violated. The court had ordered payment of fines, court costs, etc., which he has not paid a dime of yet and was ordered to take Domestic Violence classes and he has not attended even one class as of this date.

 I had an incident on March 31, 2015, whereby Julie O’Connor at the VA Homeless Veterans Clinic placed him three doors down in a facility for veterans that is not part of the VA system in direct violation of the protection order. Evidentiary documentation of Tim’s states that he knew he was in violation of the order but he tried to “slip it under the wire” hoping I would not catch on until a bed would open at the VA approved facility in Centerpoint. 

What was even more amazing was that I was informed that Tim was residing a couple of doors down from me by one of his “ex drug dealers in my neighborhood”.  When I called the police to report the violation, the responding officer informed me that the Judge could not tell Tim to stay out of Woodlawn which is in direct violation of my PFA that states “Stay away from my home, work, and any other specific place that I go to often (assuming the defendant has no good reason to be there).  I live in my own residence in Woodlawn and have a home-based office in my residence and my ex-husband has been homeless and on the streets since June 2014, due to his drug and alcohol addictions.  He has absolutely no reason to be in Woodlawn at any time.

I called the Birmingham Municipal Court and the City Probation Office to request that his probation be violated for repeated threats against my safety and welfare and blatant, intentional violations of the Protection from Abuse Order to no avail as of this date. 

Tim has been residing outside of Jefferson County since April 2015 and has not reported to his probation officer and has not filed a Request to travel that was approved. So why is his probation not being violated, particularly since his probationary status is based on violation of my PFA?

I truly understand the need for confidential informants and their use to narcotic divisions of any police department and the assurance that informant identities must remain undisclosed to protect them and to preserve the service they provide.

But this is not the case with my ex-husband, who was actually the one who “blew” his own cover with his own testimony.  Granted personal experience of repeatedly delving into the drug scene/trade within several communities in Jefferson County, he would have extensive knowledge of who the drug dealers and distributors are and where they reside, this should not allow him a “blank check” to commit criminal activity and have the police refuse to arrest him.

Particularly when it comes to committing crimes under a Protection from Abuse Order and I cannot get the very people who have sworn to:

  • Competently RESOLVE all matters
  • Consistently RESPOND to all citizens
  • Compassionately REDUCE recidivism.

To prevent serious threat of harm to my safety and welfare and for those residing in my household by a medically and psychiatrically declared mentally unstable individual - suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, severe social functioning Bi-Polar Disorder and Impulse Control Disorder as well as chronic drug abuse and alcoholism – that refuses, in his own words, to “have a judge or the government tell him what he can do or cannot do”.

The questions that need to be answered in this situation is: Should any confidential informant be allowed to remain outside the law for normal citizens for criminal and/or civil rules of procedure for arrests and pre-trial sentencing for information that he or she might be able to provide the police? And “Should a Protection from Abuse Order not be enforced or upheld by the police and the courts because of the Defendant being a confidential informant?






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