Police Use of Trickery and Deceit Example Cases

The United States Supreme Court has recognized that the Fourth Amendment does not protect "a wrongdoer's misplaced belief that a person to whom he voluntarily confides his wrongdoing will not reveal it." Hoffa v. United States, 385 U.S. 293, 302, 17 L. Ed. 2d 374, 87 S. Ct. 408 (1966). Additionally, "criminal activity is such that stealth and strategy are necessary weapons in the arsenal of the police officer." Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. 369, 372, 2 L. Ed. 2d 848, 78 S. Ct. 819 (1958). It is noteworthy that the use of trickery and subterfuge by police has been approved in a number of circumstances. See Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 22 L. Ed. 2d 684, 89 S. Ct. 1420 (1969) (holding that an officer's lie to the defendant that his coconspirator had confessed was insufficient to make an otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible). Lewis v. United States, 385 U.S. 206, 17 L. Ed. 2d 312, 87 S. Ct. 424 (1966)(finding no violation of defendant's privacy when a policeman lied about his identity in order to gain admittance to defendant's home and purchase illegal drugs); United States v. Contreras-Ceballos, 999 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1993) (holding that where police used deception to induce an occupant to open the door, the knock and announce statute was not implicated). Leahy v. United States, 272 F.2d 487 (9th Cir. 1960) (upholding the validity of an arrest made after an agent gained admittance to the appellant's premises by stating that he was an agent from the county assessor's office); United States v. Salter, 815 F.2d 1150 (7th Cir. 1987)(holding police action in inducing defendant to open door by means of a ruse did not constitute intrusion within meaning of knock and announce statute).