N.D.Ind.: CI “working off” his own case is not inherently unbelievable because he needs substantial assistance for a 5K1.1

A CI “working off” his own case is not inherently unbelievable. If anything, such a CI has an incentive to be truthful because, if he’s not, he could lose a USSG § 5K1.1 reduction for not substantially assisting the government. United States v. Carrera, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198530 (N.D. Ind. Dec. 4, 2017):

The Defendant maintains that the source is not reliable because he was facing his own federal drug charges. But informants who are trying to lessen the consequences of their own crime by assisting in a drug investigation are not unusual. See Mitten, 592 F.3d at 774. As the Seventh Circuit has recognized, this “does not make the information they provide inherently unreliable.” Id.; see also United States v. Olson, 408 F.3d 366, 371 (7th Cir. 2005) (“A motive to curry favor … does not necessarily render an informant unreliable. Indeed, even informants ‘attempt[ing] to strike a bargain with the police [have] a strong incentive to provide accurate and specific information rather than false information about [a defendant's] illegal activity.’”) (quoting United States v. Koerth, 312 F.3d 862, 870 (7th Cir. 2002)). This incentive exists because any benefit the informant is seeking “is generally contingent upon the information provided by such an informant being accurate and useful.” Mitten, 592 F.3d at 774; see also U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1 (citing factors for consideration of whether substantial assistance departure is warranted to include the “significance and usefulness of the defendant’s assistance” and its “truthfulness, completeness, and reliability”). It is reasonable to conclude that the source, who was represented by counsel, would have been advised of the requirement to provide accurate and reliable information.

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