Gov. Charlie Crist signs 'Rachel's Law' protecting police informants
Law enforcement agencies across Florida will have to create guidelines for the use of confidential informants under a bill signed into law today by Gov. Charlie Crist.
The legislation is named for Rachel Hoffman, a Florida State University grad who was murdered while on an undercover drug buy for Tallahassee police a year ago today. "It's just a great day for Rachel's cause and memory," said her father, Irv Hoffman, of Pinellas County.
"Rachel's Law" calls on agencies to take into account a person's age and maturity, emotional state and the level of risk a mission would entail. Police also would be barred from promising an informer more lenient treatment; only prosecutors and judges can do that.
Not included are several provisions Hoffman's parents said could have prevented their daughter's death, including barring anyone in a drug treatment program, as 23-year-old Rachel was, from going on undercover drug buys. (more background here)
"This bill represents a great consensus," Crist said, flanked by the bill sponsors, Rep. Peter Nehr and Sen. Mike Fasano. "It’s probably not everything everybody wants. But it’s an awful lot of what is good and right and just about making sure that people are more safe."
[From left, Senator Mike Fasano consoles Irv Hoffman, of Palm Harbor, father of the late Rachel Hoffman, during the signing of 'Rachel's Law' by Gov. Charlie Crist, Thursday. Scott Keeler, Times]