The Police Operation and Entrapment

The first issue presented here is whether the undercover police operation constituted entrapment. Law enforcement officers generally have the freedom to , and even to pose as criminals themselves if necessary. Many undercover operations involve police officers committing acts that would be crimes themselves if committed by an ordinary person. However, the police cannot provoke or coerce a defendant into committing a criminal act. Defendants can claim entrapment if they can show that undercover officer coerced them into committing a crime that they normally would not have committed.

Here, there is no evidence of entrapment. The defendant initiated all of the , not the undercover police officer. Bob asked the officer to help him murder Carl. Bob showed Art the bomb that he had started making, which he planned to use to murder Carl with. Bob took the bomb to Carls house, and attached it to Carls automobile. There is no reason to believe that he would not have committed these acts without the undercover officer.

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Bob may claim that Art helped him make the bomb, and that this constitutes entrapment. However, undercover officers are not prohibited from playing along with a suspect to gather more evidence. Here, Art helped make the bomb so he could see if Bob intended to carry out his attempted murder plot. Obviously the officer would not have been allowed to make an actual bomb, but here he secretly rigged the bomb not to explode. After Bob took the bomb to Carls house and placed it on Carls automobile, the police had all the evidence they needed that Bob was attempting to murder Carl. Therefore, this undercover operation does not constitute entrapment.

The second issue presented here is whether the automobile searches violate the 4thAmendments ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The searches were incident to a lawful arrest, since Bob had been arrested before police conducted the searches. Police do not usually need a warrant to search cars if there is probable cause. Probable cause requires evidence of a crime. Since cars can be quickly driven away, it is not realistic to expect police to obtain a warrant.

This case is a little different from typical automobile cases, since both cars here were searched by police while parked on the street. However, the police clearly had probable cause to search Carls car. Bob had placed a (disabled) bomb on Carls car, so Carls automobile was effectively a crime scene. Police had evidence of criminal activity in Carls car.

The search of Bobs automobile is a little more difficult to justify. Bob had already been arrested, so there was no danger of him escaping. There was also no danger of him destroying potential evidence in his car. Since he was in custody, police could have obtained a warrant without endangering their case. However, the test is not if police could have obtained a warrant, but if they had probable cause to search the car without a warrant. Here, the police observed Bob strapping a bomb to Carls car. They had reason to believe that Bobs car may have contained evidence of criminal activity, such as a sales receipt for the explosives. In addition, Bobs car was merely parked across the street from where he was arrested, so it was within the area of the crime scene. Thus, the search of Bobs car does not violate the 4thAmendment.

The final two issues presented here are whether the recorded jailhouse conversation violates Bobs 5thAmendment right against self-incrimination or his 6thAmendment right to counsel. Whether his 5thAmendment rights were violated depends on if the conversation is considered an interrogation by the police. Statements made by a defendant to an undercover officer placed in their jail cell generally are not considered to come from an interrogation. This is for obvious reasons, since an undercover officer cannot give aMirandawarning to a suspect without blowing their own cover.

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