Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Alexandra Natapoff, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, argues that the consequences of snitching—police and prosecutors offering deals to criminal offenders in exchange for information—aren’t always positive. Her book Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice is a comprehensive analysis of this common practice, and looks at how it affects the legal system, policing, and communities.

Event: Alexandra Natapoff will be speaking
Wednesday, December 2, at 6:15 pm
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1115
Jacob Burns Moot Court Room
More information here.


Alexandra Natapoff,

Comments [10]

Steve from Red Bank NJ

It was ovious from the comments made by the Bronx detective that called into the show he had not heard a word of what Professor Natapoff was saying. And judging by the comments here it appears as if most listeners missed the point too.

Dec. 02 2009 02:56 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

#s 6,8,9,
I’m not sure if the guest titled her book to sell more copies or generate more buzz than it otherwise would have warranted (though my initial feeling was that she did), but what troubles me is that she seems to have not realized that snitching has a common usage now that is counter to and more popular than her definition.
Maybe it’s a case of thesaurus use gone awry. The book definition of snitch is “to turn informer” but the Stop Snitching campaign as usurped that definition.
At least now I know WNYC wasn’t advocating the prevalent “I didn’t see nothing” that is leading to more and more unresolved or slower than necessary cases.

Dec. 02 2009 12:55 PM
Tara from New York, NY

It seems like your guest titled her book to sell more copies. Informants, and what is referred to as snitching, are not the same thing so this show is pointless.

Dec. 02 2009 12:43 PM

My understanding of snitch stemming from common usage, is one who sees something and says something and is subsequently victimized by the criminals in the neighborhood. I am not sure the author is using this term correctly.

Dec. 02 2009 12:40 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

The guests has used the word “snitch” to mean both an informant and a witness even though she means “informants” also known as “rats”.
Personally, I think this is just a poorly titled book.

Dec. 02 2009 12:39 PM
mozo from nyc

#2 makes a very good point. My uncle, a former NYPD detective then lieutenant, never called an informer a snitch. And he never completely believed anything an informer told them unless he knew them well.

Dec. 02 2009 12:29 PM
bob from huntington

Snitching seems to inhabitthe same gray area as entrapment (i.e. cops dressed as hookers). Please ask your guest to comment.

Dec. 02 2009 12:28 PM
uos from queens

great segment, thanks for this

Dec. 02 2009 12:25 PM
Dana from Brooklyn

Alexandra Natapoff says that the Federal system has good guidelines in regards to the use of informants but my understanding of the Eric McDavid "eco-terror" case which was profiled in Elle Magazine in the Spring of 2008 seems to contradict that.

Dec. 02 2009 12:17 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Why is this book called “snitching” if it refers to a quid pro quo with criminals instead of calling it “ratting” or "informing". Snitching has an already defined street/common usage meaning which does refer to calling 911 and the like by completely innocent people.
Listening to the promos for this show, I thought WNYC was supporting the “Stop Snitching” campaigns that are leading to cases like the 16 year old girl who got gang raped at school with dozens of spectators (none of whom attempted to stop the rape), or the lack of leads in cases like the recent Bronx shootings.
The guests clearly didn’t realize or doesn’t care how much confusing she is creating with the title of her book and the misappropriation of this term.

Dec. 02 2009 12:15 PM

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