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Proposed Changes in Operation of the Witness Protection Program

Date of Issuance:

The Attorney General has broad discretion in administering the Witness Protection Program established under Title V of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and his decisions in this connection are not subject to judicial review under the statute.

Two proposed changes in the administration of the Program, dealing with the settlement of existing debts by persons entering the Program and with the custody of children brought into the Program, are generally within the Attorney General’s authority. However, certain modifications should be made to protect fully the due process nghts of persons entitled to litigate or enforce custody and visitation rights against a participant in the Ptogram. Whether the proposed changes provide constitutionally adequate protection for either creditors unable to satisfy their claims because of the government’s refusal to disclose the identity of persons in the Program, or for persons within the Program whose identity is disclosed to creditors, may depend on the facts of each case.

The proposed changes would not subject the government to liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act, because they come within an exception to the waiver of sovereign immunity in that Act. Nor would they subject the government to liability for contract damages under the Tucker Act.


Updated July 9, 2014