Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dangerous Games

Thinking about testifying in a case that could endanger your life? Thinking about prosecuting a defendant using evidence from informants?

Think again. posted an AP story today about a Web site that identifies informants and undercover agents, whose identities are protected from retaliation for testifying against defendants in court. gives profiles of men and women who have "ratted" on people to the police, sending them to jail. According to story, the creator of the site is a man named Sean Bucci, who was charged with selling marijuana out of his home. Bucci is under house arrest awaiting trial.

The site is registered to a man named Anthony Capone, who holds the domain name with an address in Austrailia. Capone is apparently a spokesman for the site. In the story, he says that the site does not condone violence and is only a resource for men on trial:
"If people got hurt or killed, it's kind of on them. They knew the dangers of becoming an informant," Capone said. "We'd feel bad, don't get me wrong, but things happen to people. If they decide to become an informant, with or without the Web site, that's a possibility."
That's a pretty flimsy response.

Also, on the disclaimer page on the site, the first paragraph says this:
"This web site and the information contained within is definitely not an attempt to intimidate or harass informants or agents or to obstruct justice. This websites purpose is for defendants with few resources to investigate, gather and share information about a witness or law enforcement officer. Freedom of speech , freedom of information act, and an individual's constitutional right to investigate his or her case protect this website. Some Information contained in this website may not be 100 percent accurate and should be used for information / entertainment purposes only."
I wonder who actually believes in this. The information that the site shares easily makes each informant a target. However, there isn't much anyone can do yet. The documents and information that the site posts are of public record and no one's challenged the idea that the site is not protected by free speech. Still, it's a pretty shady Web site, and it makes you wonder just a little more about your privacy in anything that you do.


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