Bill on confidential informants likely headed to a conference committee

Mar 31, 2017

Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Credit ND Legislature

A bill designed to protect confidential informants has been changed by a Senate committee.

That bill was introduced after State College of Science Student Andrew Sadek’s body was found in the Red River. He had been a drug informant – and his family believes he was murdered.

The senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill – so that it would be given to the Police Officers Standards and Training board to write rules for the treatment of confidential informants.

That change has angered Andrew Sadek’s mother, Tammy Sadek.

"I have no idea why they would do that," Sadek told KFGO Radio. "We were riding high after the 92-0 House vote. Now we've been cut off at the knees. I feel like I'm powerless."

But the Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson), said he thought the original bill went too far – and a House-Senate conference committee will be able to write a better law.

"What I'm really concerned about is the over-broad spectrum of how it was dealing with all confidential informants, not just young guys or first-time felons," Armstrong said. "I've been a criminal defense attorney for 15 years -- I've seen this happen."

Armstrong said there are issues and problems that a bill could and should address.

"By the time we're done at the end of the session, we'll have a good bill," Armstrong said.

The full Senate unanimously approved the changed bill – setting the stage for a conference committee.