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Is Trickery a Legitimate Way to Apprehend Alleged Deadbeat Dads?

Question for LBW readers: Is it OK or not OK for law enforcement to use trickery to track down fathers with outstanding warrants alleging unpaid child support? 

You hear about this type of "deadbeat dad sting" operation every few years, but the most recent one carried out in Alabama used some almost irresistible bait to lure fathers into the police's trap: the promise of two free tickets to the 2011 Alabama-Auburn football game.

According to Fox Sports South, the Lee County, Ala., sheriff's department launched Operation Iron Snare in an effort to address some very large child-support warrants that were outstanding. The sting involved phony "You Have Won!" letters mailed to local residents who had such outstanding warrants, which announced that the recipients had been selected to receive free tickets to the Alabama-Auburn "Iron Bowl" game. Fox Sports reports that "to the astonishment of just about everyone, a dozen suspects showed up to collect their prize."

When they arrived at the storefront they were told to visit to claim their tickets, the faux-winners were greeted with celebratory balloons and banners decorating the location and cheering spectators. Once they ventured inside, however, they were taken to an area in the back of the storefront where they were quickly handcuffed by police. Even then, however, some of the duped and arrested men were still asking if they would be receiving the tickets. 

In the days since video of the sting was made public, some commentators have criticized the operation as "sleazy" or even "cruel." Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports writes that,"Yes, they deserve what they're getting, but it just feels wrong." On the other hand, of course, the people being apprehended here have outstanding warrants and are wanted by authorities for alleged unpaid child support. Please check out the video below and offer your thoughts in the comments. Is this type of sting OK? Not OK? What do you think?

Posted by Bruce Carton on August 9, 2011 at 01:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)


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