Illinois just passed the nation’s strongest bill to prevent wrongful convictions based on false jailhouse informant testimony.
Illinois will be the first state in the country to require judges to hold pre-trial reliability hearings before jailhouse informant witness testimony is admissible in murder, sexual assault, and arson cases.
Jailhouse informants are a leading cause of wrongful convictions nationally, playing a role in 16% of DNA exonerations on innocent Americans. In Illinois, unreliable jailhouse informants were involved in 17 wrongful convictions that have cost taxpayers $88.4 million in civil lawsuit payments and state compensation.
James Kluppelberg spent 25 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit in Chicago because a jailhouse informant lied about seeing him at the crime scene in order to obtain a reduced sentence.
“I missed out on raising my son and by the time I was exonerated, my son had a family of his own. No one can give me back the years I lost behind bars for a crime I didn’t commit, but I’m proud to advocate for this new bill so that other innocent people won’t have to go through what I did.”