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Can Police Officers Pretend to be Minors in Indecent Solicitation Cases?

Can Police Officers Pretend to be Minors in Indecent Solicitation Cases?

For years, law enforcement has relied on the practice of undercover operations to catch unsuspecting people engaging in illegal activity. One such operation involves officers posing as minors online to entice sexual predators and charge them with indecent solicitation. But is this practice legal? Could it be considered entrapment?  Are these people actually sexual predators, or are they being swept up in the police attempt to turn innocent activity into a crime? At Manosh Payette, LLC, we frequently examine the legality of police officers pretending to be minors in indecent solicitation cases in Rhode Island.

The practice of undercover operations is not a new concept. It has been around for decades and is used by law enforcement agencies across the globe. However, in recent years, the use of undercover work in sexual exploitation cases has come under scrutiny. Some argue that this practice is a form of entrapment since the officer induces the criminal to engage in illegal activity.

In Rhode Island, the law stipulates that a person commits indecent solicitation when they intentionally engage in sexual conversation or solicitation to engage in conduct that constitutes a crime with a minor. If law enforcement officials believe that a person is breaking this law, they can pose as a minor online to catch the offender.

Rhode Island courts have upheld the use of undercover efforts in indecent solicitation cases, finding that the practice is generally not considered entrapment. The key factor in determining whether or not the use of an undercover officer is entrapment is whether or not the officer coerced the defendant into committing the crime. If the defendant was already predisposed to commit the offense and the officer did not coerce them, the action is not considered entrapment. 

It is important to note that both state and federal laws prohibit entrapment. Entrapment is when a law enforcement official induces a person to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. This means that if the officer coerces the defendant, it could be considered entrapment, and the charges could be dropped.

Law enforcement officials argue that the use of undercover officers is necessary to protect children from sexual predators. They also argue that the use of undercover officers is legal if they do not coerce the defendant into committing the crime.  But there is a line, and you must retain an attorney with experience defending these types of cases in order to challenge the legality of any arrest based upon a law enforcement officer repeatedly encouraging the sexual nature of the conversation.  

In the end, the use of undercover officers to pose as minors to catch sexual predators is a controversial topic. While some argue that it is a necessary tool for law enforcement officials, others argue that it is a form of entrapment. In the state of Rhode Island, the use of undercover officers in indecent solicitation cases has been upheld in court, provided the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime and was not coerced by the officer. If you or a loved one has been charged with indecent solicitation, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand your rights and determine the best course of action for your case. Contact Manosh Payette, LLC, because your future deserves the best defense

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