Criminal Justice: To Trap a Thief

It is not unusual for a defendant to claim that he was trapped into committing a crime. Often he is speaking the truth, at least by his own lights. Law enforcement officers regularly "solicit" criminal activity by playing up to homosexuals, using decoy letters to trap postal thieves, making narcotics "buys," and getting their pockets picked. Entrapment, in fact, was the chief defense in a trial that closed in Manhattan last week. The case concerned the three men who were arrested last February in a bizarre conspiracy to blow up the Statue of Liberty (TIME, Feb. 26).

Two of the...

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