Mass. Court: DAs Can't Participate In Rewards

The state's highest court has ruled that prosecutors cannot participate in monetary reward programs for witnesses whose testimony helps lead to a conviction.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday in the case of Wayne Miranda, a New Bedford man who was convicted of second-degree murder.

The court upheld Miranda's conviction, but the justices said they "expressly disapprove" of verification letters prosecutors sent to the local chamber of commerce confirming the testimony of two witnesses who received reward money. Under the program, the chamber pays $3,000 for information that helps lead to an indictment in unsolved homicide cases, and another $2,000 if the information leads to a conviction.

The court found the verification letters amounted to "the indirect provision of money" to witnesses "contingent on the outcome of a defendant's trial."

This program aired on September 27, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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