This article surveys the existing literature on the facilitation of witness cooperation in the USA and a variety of European countries. It highlights trends in the evolution of the legal landscape concerning the use of criminal informants and witnesses as the central approach to the investigation and prosecution of organized crime. It also looks at the use of plea-bargaining, witness immunity, and criminal informant and undercover police testimony. It provides comparisons in the development of these techniques and it does so by reference to the narrative histories of practice and legal debate about the efficacy of these measures in various countries. The article concludes that, although significant moral hazards are associated with these developments, and although the efficacy of these techniques has not been fully demonstrated by solid empirical research, they are likely to remain in force for the foreseeable future.
- comparative criminal justice systems
- moral hazard
- organized crime
- witness immunity
- Witness statements