'Andrew's Law' headed to Gov. Burgum

Apr 19, 2017

Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson).
Credit ND Legislature

“Andrew’s Law” is on its way to Governor Burgum.

The law sets out rights and responsibilities when law enforcement uses confidential informants. It was named for Andrew Sadek, a student at the State College of Science in Wahpeton, who was a drug informant. His body was found in the Red River, and his parents believe he was murdered.

"Obviously, this is an emotional issue," said Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson).

Armstrong authored a rewrite of the original bill. It passed a conference committee, as well as both houses. He said he bill sets out the informant’s rights, while allowing law enforcement to continue to use an important tool in the fight against illegal drugs.

Armstrong said police discover the drugs either through traffic stops or search warrants.

"And the way search warrants are executed is by gaining information from people who are involved in this type of activity," Armstrong told his Senate colleagues. "In North Dakota, that's far and away the most likely way you will get large weights of drugs off the street.

Armstrong said it's important to recognize the need for reform, along with a recognition that law enforcement have a job to do.

Under the bill, law enforcement can’t promise an informant anything – in terms of sentence reduction or commutation – but can say they will recommend lighter sentences to the judge. It also says if an informant is killed, a private agency will investigate it.

It passed the Senate 44 to 1. It had earlier passed the House.