Published 10 Apr 2017

Entrapment is defined as “act of government agents or officials that induces a person to commit a crime he or she is not previously disposed to commit (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 1998). Entrapment is a defense that can be availed of in a criminal prosecution by establishing that the idea of the crime was initiated by the official and therefore, the accused was only induced into committing it. The significance of this defense is to discourage and deter the law enforcement officers from inducing another to commit a crime and who in the first case, was not predisposed to do so. The law enforcement officer is however allowed to use deception to provide an opportunity for the commission of the crime when the person has already previous intent to do so. This an allowable standard to enable the law enforcement officers to gather evidence and address crimes within their jurisdiction (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 1998).

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In the case of New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984), Quarles an assailant was spotted by the police and was frisked in a supermarket. The police officer felt the empty firearm holster and inquired from Quarles where the firearm was. Quarles replied. The officer arrested Quarles and read him his Miranda rights. The main issue which the Court resolved is whether the statements of Quarles can be used in court against him notwithstanding the fact that the police officer failed to read him the Miranda rights before inquiring about the firearm. The Court ruled that the failure of the police officer to immediately read his Miranda rights was not a violation of the Constitution. The constitutional rule of the Miranda warnings admits of an exception which is the ‘public safety’ exception. The desire of the police officer in immediately apprising himself of the location of the firearm was spontaneous and instinctive. This was further interpreted by the Court as the police officer’s concern for their own personal safety as well as of others. Therefore, the Court denied and rejected the motion for suppression of the statements of Quarles [New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984)].


  • New York v. Quarles, 467 U.S. 649 (1984).
  • West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. The Gale Group, Inc. 1998.
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