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The legal implications of adding additional stolen property by the police in a sting operation and its impact on the conviction of the defendant

Summary:

Adding additional stolen property by the police in a sting operation can raise significant legal implications, including questions of entrapment and due process violations. If proven, it may impact the conviction of the defendant by potentially leading to the dismissal of charges or exclusion of evidence, as it undermines the integrity of the investigation and the fairness of the judicial process.

Expert Answers

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In the following case, why would it have been better if the police sent only the three radios stolen earlier instead of adding more? Police arrested a man in posession of three stolen car radios. The thief informed the the police he was planning to sell the radios to the defendant. The police took the three radios, and eleven more, and gave them to the thief to sell to the defendant. The defendant was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. See Ex. Parte Walls, 711 So.2d 490(Ala. 1997)

It would have been better if the police had only sent the three radios with the thief because then there would be less ground for the defendant to claim entrapment.

Entrapment occurs, as the link below says,when government officials do something

that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit.

One can argue that the defendant was previously disposed to commit the crime of buying the three stolen radios, but that he was not disposed to buy the other 11 that the police sent along with the thief.  Therefore, by sending the extra radios, the police actually bolster the defendant's ability to claim entrapment.

The defendant can also claim that the other 11 radios were not actually stolen property.  He can say that, once the police got possession of those radios, the radios ceased to be stolen property.

It is not clear that either of these defenses will work, but they were made much more feasible by the police action in adding the 11 other stolen radios to the original 3 the defendant was going to buy.

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Can the defendant be convicted of posession of stolen property in the following case?Police arrested a man in posession of three stolen car radios. The thief informed the the police he was planning to sell the radios to the defendant. The police took the three radios, and eleven more, and gave them to the thief to sell to the defendant. The defendant was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. See Ex. Parte Walls, 711 So.2d 490(Ala. 1997)

From your description of the facts, there apparently was a pre-existing arrangement between the thief and the defendant for the latter to purchase the stolen goods from him. If one purchases, or receives as a gift goods that are stolen knowing that they are stolen, then he is guilty of the charge. The obvious defense would be entrapment; however that defense would not lie in this case. Entrapment only lies if the defendant is induced to commit a crime which he was not predisposed to commit beforehand. In the present instance, there appears to have been some predisposition on behalf of the defendant. The fact that the thief delivered more radios than he had in fact stolen is no defense. Even if the radios furnished by the police were not stolen goods the first three were in fact, and the offense is consummated. Had he ONLY delivered the eleven radios furnished by the police, he would be not guilty, as the goods were not stolen.

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