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“Rachel’s Law” Signed

May 7th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Law enforcement agencies are being required to develop policies for dealing with confidential informants under legislation signed by Governor Charlie Crist. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the legislation is the result of the death of a 23-year-old FSU graduate while working as a confidential informant in a drug deal gone bad.

A year ago, 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman was killed in a drug deal gone bad. Since then her parents and friends have worked to gain protections for confidential informants like Rachel.

I dont understand the reason why you would send a 23-year-old girl who got busted for marijuana in to buy a gun, 1500 ecstasy pills, and 2 ounces of cocaine, Jason Jones, a friend of Rachels, said.

A grand jury found the Tallahassee police had violated their own policy. Four officers were disciplined, one was fired.

As a tearful father looked on and with a whir of cameras, Governor Charlie Crist used the first anniversary of Rachels death to sign the nations first legislation protecting informants.

The emotional pain doesnt leave, and I think that you just have to go through it, Irv Hoffman, Rachels father said. I wouldnt wish it upon anybody else.

Police agencies, who originally opposed the legislation can no longer promise more lenient sentencing for cooperating. It also requires them to consider age, maturity, and whether a person is in a court ordered drug program.

I wish you all had an opportunity to know Rachel, Margie Weiss, Rachels mother said. This is the only way to make sense of her life.

The legislation says those in charge of informants must regularly review procedures that are in place. The next stop for Rachels parents as they left the Capitol was to visit their daughters grave.

Two men are charged with First Degree murder in Rachel Hoffmans case, and while the bill doesnt offer as much protection as her parents originally wanted, they say they will come back to lawmakers next year for more.

Posted in Criminal Justice, Legislature, State News | 3 Comments »

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