YOU BE THE JUDGE
One March evening in 1997, Bakersfield police officers conducted a vehicle theft "sting" operation. They staged an arrest of a plainclothes police officer driving a black 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that belonged to the police department. The arresting officers activated the emergency lights and siren of their marked patrol car and stopped the Monte Carlo. The Monte Carlo's driver drove into a parking lot and parked. While a group of spectators watched, a uniformed police officer approached the Monte Carlo, ordered the driver out, patted him down, handcuffed him, placed him in the back seat of the patrol car, and drove away, leaving the Monte Carlo behind. The police left the Monte Carlo unlocked with the keys in the ignition to make it easier to take. They wanted to give the impression the driver was arrested and the vehicle was left there.
A couple of hours later, police arrested Tray Watson after he drove the Monte Carlo from the parking lot.
Mr. Watson was charged with taking a vehicle. At the first trial, the court allowed a defense of entrapment. The jury was unable to reach a verdict, and the court declared a mistrial. At the second trial, the court refused to allow the entrapment defense, finding insufficient evidence to support the defense. The jury found Mr. Watson guilty.
Should entrapment have been allowed as a defense?
Copyright © 2002, Law Offices of George A. Boyle