Student Informant’s Name Remained Confidential In Drug Case

CB was 18 years old, repeating his senior year.  He made a deal with fellow student JZ to help him sell mescaline tablets at school.  Under the arrangement, each day, CB gave tablets to JZ, hidden in a Bic pen.  JZ would deliver the tablets to students who had prepaid for them.  A confidential informant told the Vice Principal Cannici that JZ was distributing drugs at school.  Note:  The court ruled that  Cannici did not have to reveal the name of the confidential informant because the informant played no part in the discovery of drugs. Based on this tip,  Cannici asked JZ to come to his office and  remove the contents of his pockets, which he did.  No drugs were in his pocket.   Cannici examined a Bic pen JZ placed on the table.  The pen contained an ink cartridge and 43 small tablets inside.  JZ admitted that CB had been supplying him with the tablets.000803_1071_3229_v__v.thm

Next Cannici interviewed CB in his office for an hour. confronting him with the fact JZ said he supplied him with the drugs.   CB admitted he gave JZ over 100 hits the previous two weeks.  Cannici left the room for a few minutes.  When he came back CB was gone, along with his car keys which he had earlier placed on the desk.  Cannici talked with another student who said CB had the drugs hidden in a wall near his house.  This information was passed along to the police who went to CB’s house.  They obtained permission to search from CB’s father.  Near the wall they found a bag containing 61 LSD pills.   CB was charged with and convicted of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute.  JZ was not charged with a crime but called as a witness against CB.

In affirming CB’s conviction, the court ruled the school did not have to reveal the name of the informant who told them JZ was selling drugs.  When Cannici found the pen with the tablets in JZ’s possession, it was entirely reasonable to ask who provided him with these drugs.  The court said Cannici was a school administrator, not acting as an instrument or agent of the police pursuant to a scheme to elicit an incriminating statement from CB.   Accordingly, Cannici did not have to give CB a Miranda Warning about his right to remain silent.   This meant CB’s rights were not violated and is conviction was lawful.

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