“This case was essentially a case where it appeared to be going nowhere and the detectives in this case built this case out of absolutely nothing,” Mark Williams, a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney, said at trial. “They deserve the credit of the community for the job that they did.”
Revelations from jailhouse informant Leslie Vernon White prompted a mass review of cases spanning an entire decade in which jailhouse testimony had been used to secure a criminal conviction. And it led Los Angeles County to adopt what one expert calls some “of the best jailhouse snitch protections in the country.”
Several Wisconsin cases from the The National Registry of Exonerations show how incentivized testimony can contribute to wrongful convictions. Each involves testimony from informants that was later proven false.