To Catch ... Some Heat
'Predator' threatened by lawsuit
Catching a predator is awesome. Publicly humiliating him may be actionable.
According to this report in The Hollywood Reporter, a federal judge in California has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed against NBC by Anurag Tiwari, a former Sun Microsystems engineer who claims that being ensnared on a 2006 episode of the show violated his rights to privacy and inflicted undue emotional distress.
"To Catch a Predator" traps alleged child molesters by working with members of a watchdog group who -- posing as minors online -- lure suspected pedophiles to a house for sexual activity. Once the suspects arrive, Chris Hansen pokes his head out of a back room to ask what they're doing. Police arrest the suspects as they exit.
NBC claims that these events are news stories, and that the First Amendment allows news stories to be broadcast with impunity.
That may not be so, according to U.S. District Court judge Edward Chen, who ruled last week that it "was not necessary" for cops to wait until after the Hansen confrontation to arrest Tiwari or to arrest him "in a sensational way," or for NBC to film Tiwari -- who was nabbed in Petaluma, Calif. -- being cuffed and questioned.
If the suit succeeds, it could jeopardize the format of the show.
The judge did, however, reject a portion of Tiwari's suit claiming defamation -- on the grounds that he was engaged in an apparent felony. (Eventually, he was convicted of a misdemeanor, which was reduced to an infraction as part of a plea deal in exchange for dropping his appeal.)
No trial date has been announced.
jakenupe2, as I have said before it is never right to have or ask a minor to have sex. That is not what the show is doing. It is getting people for "attempting to convince" someone to have sex. There is a difference. But everyone just looks at it as being the same. Just for reference thought, in Florida a 24 year old can legally have sex with a minor down to and including 16 years old. Some states go as low as 14, but Federal law requires a minimum manditory 10 years for "attempting to convince a minor".
I agree with the court, they are sensationalizing the show by doing this, their actions aren't creating news, it's a show made to humiliate those who choose to break the law, in the end I think it does more damage to the innocent families that get drawn into this. It's not the wives and the children's fault but I think they are getting a lot of the heat! There's a lot of undue repercussions caused by the show.
Furthermore I think Hansen is somewhat of a hypocrite, he himself has been caught up in a marital affair fiasco which seemed to be growing. I think he should be fired for his actions.......while they may not be criminal they are certainly immoral and gives the company a black eye! Practice what you preach!
Saw in court a case where the police decoy told the defendant "We need to hookup", "I want to do boyfriend/girlfriend stuff". The jury convicted. So please don't believe that just because the law might say one thing, jury's don't necessarily follow. This is one of those crimes that people are so emotionally involved that once you are accused, it's over.
I was merely pointing out to all the people here who are crying entrapment what might actually constitute entrapment. Every single "predator" episode I have seen, the transcripts that they show would stand up against an entrapment defense (in my not-an-expert-in-any-way opinion based on what little I know of the law because I'm not a lawyer).
Here is the first explanation of entrapment that I came across in a quick Google search.
State v. Doran (1983), 5 Ohio St. 3d 187 -- Syllabus: "(1) The defense of entrapment is established where the criminal design originates with the officials of the government, and they implant in the mind of an innocent person the disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order to prosecute. (2) Entrapment is an affirmative defense under R.C. 2901305(C)(2). (3) A jury instruction which fails to allocate any burden of proof on the affirmative defense of entrapment is inherently misleading and confusing and is prejudicial error."
I'm sure different states may word it differently, but the gist is likely the same. Any lawyer worth his salt should be able to get a case thrown out if the decoy was the one soliciting the meeting. A decent judge would recognize entrapment in a case like that if a motion to dismiss was presented. That is assuming that it was the decoy who initiated. The decoy can play along once the topic has been broached, but can't initiate the topic.
Again, this is based on my layman's understanding of the law and nothing more. I don't make any claim to be any kind of expert.
As far as 'TCAP's methods, how much different is it than 'COPS' or 'Cheaters'? Exactly where will the judge split that hair?
2009, You might want to find the definition of "entrapment" before you post such nonsense.
at what age is it wrong to have or ask a minor to have sex? Since for you it is ok as long as it is consensual!
If I am in a bar and some 15 year old uses fake ID to get in and then proceeds to tell me they are 15, I am running away! Why lie to get into a chat room for adults and then reveal your real age? If you tell me your 15 in an adult chat room I'm signing off! I guess for you little girls and boys screaming while playing are intentionally trying to entice you!
Although these guys are pervs and should be punished. I did not like the show's method of entrapment.. I actually don't like entrapment at all. It just seems to me that most sting operations consist of the feds being overly aggressive, damned near forcing the "perpetrator" to solicit in the act. In real life, no 15 year old is that aggressive or pushy... The pervs are usually more slick and aggressive... More like the big bad wolf... LOL
I can't believe people on here are faulting the judge for allowing the suit to continue. A judge, by law, must be impartial. Their decisions must be based solely on the letter of the law... well... sometimes the "spirit" of the law.
Being a pedophile doesn't preclude the plaintiff from having the right to sue in our legal system. The judge made the correct decision by allowing this suit to go forward. I personally don't think he has a case, but letting each side state their case, and allowing the laws to be examined will determine that.