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La Plata & Waldorf Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Charles County Criminal Defense Firm Hablamos Español 301-259-3488

The Witness Protection Program


The Witness Protection Program, under the guidance of federal U.S. Marshals, provides new identities to individuals who face the possibility of retribution after testifying against organized crime groups (like the Mafia, for example) who intimidate communities and are responsible for appreciably violent crimes. Cooperation from witnesses can be an indisputable safety concern for such witnesses and their families, and, as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, the Marshals have been in the business of protecting them since 1971.  Since that time nearly 20,000 people have been sheltered by the Marshalls, and the feds are proud to say that no one who has followed the guidelines in the program has ever been harmed or killed.  That’s the upside. The downside is that entry into the program is factually a colossal upset to life. What do you need to know about it?

Witness Protection: 13 Details 

There are many little known facts about witness protection that should be considered before agreeing to placement in the program:

  1. Eligibility for the program depends on successful vetting and the sponsorship of the U.S. Attorney, the Department of Enforcement Operations, and the U.S. Marshals.
  2. People can NEVER reveal their history, even if they get married later.
  3. Though an effort is made to place witnesses in an area where they would be comfortable, after witnesses are asked where they would like to go they are sent elsewhere so no one can figure out where they are.
  4. Plastic surgery, which was offered prior to 1990, is no longer part of the program.
  5. Mental and physical testing is a prerequisite for enrollment in the program.
  6. Skills testing helps to place the witness in an appropriate new job.
  7. Documentation such as new birth certificates, social security numbers, and drivers’ licenses support new identities for witnesses and family members who accompany them.
  8. School records are amended for minor children.
  9. Prior to becoming self-sufficient, witnesses are provided with financial assistance for about six months.
  10. Furnished homes in neighborhoods with churches and schools are provided.
  11. Letters may be exchanged through a secure system (although letters must be destroyed after being read) phone calls to loved ones left behind may occur on through annual contact.
  12. When they leave, witnesses are not allowed to tell people where they’re going.  They basically just disappear from their lives.
  13. Nine out of ten protected witnesses in the program have a history of criminal activity themselves.

HM Law 

The dedicated LaPlata & Waldorf criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. are prepared to fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients.  To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation today.

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