Local News

November 26, 2012

Entrapment or crime prevention?


‘Why tempt someone ... ?’

Mike McCarthy, the chief public defender for the circuit that includes Whitfield and Murray counties, didn’t comment on Metcalf’s case specifically, but he questioned the morality of certain law enforcement practices. He likened the undercover agent asking or suggesting an adult have sex with a juvenile to the agent placing a $1,000 bill somewhere and watching just to see if he could arrest someone for taking it.

“Why tempt someone who may not otherwise be a thief?” he said. “I have a problem with manufacturing crime. There are enough real crimes that take place that law enforcement and prosecutors, in my opinion, ought to be spending their time solving real crimes rather than making up crimes.”

McCarthy said there are some cases in which a naive college student or someone who is low functioning is charged. He doesn’t excuse those people, but he also thinks the justice system should view them differently than someone who has a known propensity toward pedophilia.

“They shouldn’t have responded, they shouldn’t have continued it, but I think people should be looked at on an individual basis,” McCarthy said. “It doesn’t mean that they’re pedophiles, and I think maybe this task force — the program — might be better served if they specifically targeted either chat rooms or websites that are known to be places where pedophiles traffic or communicate back and forth, not on adult websites where the police are putting the idea of the crime into the person’s head.”

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