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Rachels Law

March 4th, 2009 by flanews

The death of a 23 year old confidential informant has lawmakers trying to change the way police recruit and protect civilians they send undercover. Last May, Rachel Hoffman was killed, trying to buy drugs and a gun while undercover. As Whitney Ray tells us, a bill to create Rachels Law would require the state attorneys approval before police send offenders to do their dirty work.

Hear it Here: Rachels Law

In an attempt to clear her name of drug charges, 23-year old Rachel Hoffman struck a deal with Tallahassee Police. Rachel agreed to go undercover to help police catch two suspected drug dealers. Police lost contact with Rachel during a sting operation, and by the time they found her, it was too late.

As a result of Rachels death, four officers were suspended without pay and one officer was fired. Now lawmakers are using the tragedy to push Rachels Law. The legislation would require state attorneys to sign off on any deal where the offender agrees to go undercover in exchange for a lesser charge.

They should first of all make it very clear to them what is at risk. They should also make sure that there is somebody, a third party, whether it be an attorney, a parent or somebody that is guiding them, said bill sponsor Mike Fasano.

The Hoffmans attorney Lance Block was at the Capitol Wednesday to support the changes. A judge has told Block not to talk to the media until the criminal case against Rachels suspected killers is over.

State Senator Arthenia Joyner is co-sponsoring Rachels Law and says the legislation could save lives.

Hopefully we can come up with something that can be utilized so this does not occur again, said Joyner.

If we could save one more Rachel I think it would be better for everyone, said Fasano.

Police are having input into the legislation, but many organizations fear it will hamper investigations.

Rachels Law would also ban people from becoming confidential informants if they were following a court ordered substance abuse program. Rachel was under the supervision of a drug court when she agreed to go undercover.

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