Monday, December 17, 2007
What's your life worth?
--Randi Kaye, 360 Correspondent

I asked myself that recently while shooting a story on witness protection in Denver Colorado.
Witnesses in Colorado, and around the country, are getting killed just for testifying against the bad guys in court.

Why? Some witnesses tell us they weren't even told Colorado has a witness protection program. We met one man who had to pay $10,000 of his own money to protect his family and a woman whose son was gunned down after deciding to "do the right thing" and testify. She says he was never told he could get protection.

In all, the state spends on average less than $1,000 to help these people relocate and start a new life.

What kind of incentive is $1000? Is that worth getting killed for?

What would you do if you witnessed a serious crime: testify and take your chances, or keep your mouth shut?

I'll be reporting on this on AC360. And I'd be interested to know what you would do.
Posted By CNN: 10:48 AM ET
  6 Comments
Randi,
I guess it is according to where you live as to if you keep your mouth shut or tell what you saw. Here were I live it wouldn't be a big thing to tell on anyone. But I know in parts of the country where there are gangs and all then it becomes a matter of life and death. And if the police won't protect you then I can see keeping quiet. And the way the justice system is they may not get much time anyway or get out early for good behaviour! So I'd say my life would be worth more to me than getting someone in jail for a little amount of time.

Looking forward to your report!

Cynthia, Covimgton, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 11:09 AM ET
Hi Randi,

Interesting question, though not the one I would ask. While my life, anyone's life, is beyond a dollar amount, the question I would ask is what is the price of not acting? What will it cost me and those I love to ignore a situation. I think that cost also often goes beyond dollars.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Washington DC : 11:11 AM ET
Randi,

I'm looking forward to watching your report tonight. The systems we have in place does not translate into what we call "Witness Protection". Is enough being done to protect these witnesses?

What is the message that is being sent to other witnesses that are being called to testify?

Ariston, Miami Beach, FL
Posted By Anonymous Ariston : 12:25 PM ET
I would report it, regardless of the degree of seriousness or incentive. True, I would have a lot to loose, but I wouldn't be able to live with the knowledge that I could've done something but I was too afraid. That's not how I choose to live my life.
Posted By Blogger Hale : 12:26 PM ET
Randi/AC360:
This is a hard one.

Intimidation or backlash has gone beyond a dirty look or a nasty word in the courtroom. It almost sounds like we are back in the days of Chicago's Al Capone. Do we have any "Elliott Ness" leadership in the government?

Randi, for my children's sake, I would keep my mouth shut. Maybe. It would depend upon the crime. Murder, probably yes. Bank robbery, probably no.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 1:11 PM ET
Randi,
This is one of those situations where you are damned if you do and damned if you dont.

I guess it would depend if it was just my life or my life and those connected to me. I come from a big family and keeping them in mind I would NOT keep my mouth shut.
My reasoning behind such a decision is this view: "bad guys" have a tendency to go after the "good guys" no matter if they are silent or not. Trust me these kinds of people do not want to leave loose ends.
Posted By Blogger gomsu : 3:06 PM ET
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