Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bait Car Tramples Civil Liberties.

So, I tuned in to this show on Court TV thinking it was about this car that picked up underage hookers and busted them and then made them appear on TV ala Maury Povitch. Sadly I was mistaken.
Here is how it works. The coppers leave a car running in a high crime neighborhood and then some idiot steals it and then the coppers bust them. If the culprit tries to get away via high speed car chase then the car is shutdown. Jeez, it just makes it too easy for the cops.
The OverDrone is confused as to the legality of this. Isn't this just entrapment? According to the show this has been going on for a decade. I don't know how they would get a conviction with this though. Check it out and see for yourself.
Bait Car on Court TV


Anonymous said...

Entrapment > Legal Definition

"ENTRAPMENT - A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.

However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the Government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a Government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informer or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person. So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that Government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity.

On the other hand, if the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime except for inducement or persuasion on the part of some Government officer or agent, then the person is not guilty.

In slightly different words: Even though someone may have [sold drugs], as charged by the government, if it was the result of entrapment then he is not guilty. Government agents entrapped him if three things occurred:

- First, the idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.

- Second, the government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.

- And third, the person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him.

On the issue of entrapment the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped by government agents." (

So no, simply providing an easily stolen car for thieves to steal is not entrapment.


Jet Fisher said...

well ok, I guess it's not entrapment then. Thank you for clearing that up Reokue.

Jet Fisher said...

You know I've thought about this for over a year and it does appear to be somewhat misleading to leave a car running. Like so; the means to commit the crime were provided by a government agent so that is one part of the trifecta you referenced Reokue. The remaining points you made are valid but that does leave some wiggle room for the defendant doesn't it? What if government agents left a bag of drugs on the ground and then busted whoever picked it up? Would that be entrapment. You could argue that providing the means to commit a crime is the same thing as inducing or persuading couldn't you?

Anonymous said...

Bait cars are usually left in a situation to entice someone to take the vehicle. In southern California, there is usually some kind of commotion to draw attention to the scene, such as an argument between two people in public and then both people leaving in one car with the other car left there with the driver side door open and the engine running. People are busted as they move the cars and park them. In that situation, it's arguable that it is entrapment.

Lyricc said...

I tivo all the bait car episodes... this may not be entrapment, however police target minorities and pass it off as setting the car in "high crime areas". The police refer to people as "suspects" before they even drop the car. I think this is procedure is a HORRIBLE injustice and there should be another show done where they set a car in suburban neighborhoods and see if those people will "steal" the car as well. They will.

Lyricc said...

I tivo all the bait car episodes... this may not be entrapment, however police target minorities and pass it off as setting the car in "high crime areas". The police refer to people as "suspects" before they even drop the car. I think this is procedure is a HORRIBLE injustice and there should be another show done where they set a car in suburban neighborhoods and see if those people will "steal" the car as well. They will.

Lyricc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It's not entrapment, idiots. The perps decide on their own to get in the cars and drive them away. It doesn't matter whether the police leave the car out or an average person leaves their car out... A NORMAL person doesn't get into a stranger's car.

Use your brains, kids.

Anonymous said...

"Who gets into a car that's not their's even if the keys are in it?" -- someone trying to steal a car. And technically speaking the charge isn't "stealing" the car -- which would involve forcible entry and/or hot-wiring the car, these are likely cases of criminal trespass to vehicle. All the state has to prove is that you knowingly and w/o permission entered the car of another person. That is certainly the case of a bait car. Here in Chicago lots of people leave their cars running to warm up on cold days and then come back to find it gone.

Jet Fisher said...

Bit rude there Anon. If you find us idiotic please go read something more enlightening.
Lyric I agree that the bait car does seem to target certain classes of people. One could argue that leaving a bait car in a wealthier part of town would accomplish nothing though as the "perp" either has the means to own their own car or a good lawyer.
I think it may be a way to get young offenders into the police record early.
What is hard to believe is that people are still stealing these cars. I know your average disadvantaged youth may not be up on the latest law enforcement techniques but they do have basic cable don't they?
Anyway the passion you have all brought to this (even you Anon, thanks for bearing with us "kids" whoever you are) has inspired me to reopen this festering societal wound but not here. I am going to transplant the comments to the new and improved OverDrone over here at
so let's party over there but please take public transport if you don't have your own ride.

tramp1925 said...

How do police find the time to stage bait cars?
This is not something tax payer should be paying for.
The man power and time they are using to stage
motor theft needs to be used elsewhere.
There are far worse crimes going on right now.
forcible rape
aggravated assault
child abduction
motor vehicle theft
identity theft.
We insurance for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Tramples civil liberties? So we all are given the 'liberty' to steal anything standing that isn't padlocked and chained to the ground?

Morons like those who steal the cars are part of what makes owning anything so much more expensive than it needs to be. Insurance claims on stolen cars are covered by guess who? People who take out insurance on their car, which is (by the law you so respect), everyone.

The same with police salaries. The police exist to protect the public and public property. Their equipment and salaries come from taxes. Where do you think those taxes come from? YOUR PAYCHECK!

If they don't protect your assets then you have to, which means forget living a normal life. In come the hours of surveilance to ensure people don't take anything you haven't bolted to the ground or have a 24 hour watch on. As the laws are set we need both the police AND this kind of vigilance.

These car thieves should be put to sleep just to save us all money. They certainly aren't worth my sweat. But you seem to want to defend their 'civil liberties', so maybe you can work for them. Just be sure to chain anything you might get after they pay you back. Actually, they won't be paying you back they'll likely want to kick you out of your house and take it as their own because you had the crazy idea that you could open the door, step outside and check the mail.