The offer was too tempting to refuse. That is the the claim from the defense attorney for a suspect in a drug case about what happened during a police interrogation last June, reports the Burlington (VT) Free Press. An agent with the Vermont Drug Task Force told the man accused of trafficking heroin that the police would consider, in exchange for cooperation, releasing the suspect and installing him as the region’s leading drug dealer for six months. Authorities would help him establish dominance over the competition and funnel all narcotics sales through him, according to court papers.
It was all a ruse. Everyone involved agrees that the tactic, intended to elicit a confession, was unparalleled. The defense calls what happened “extraordinary.” The prosecution concedes that making such an assurance was “unprecedented.” The judge described the suggestion as “cinematic” and “fantastic.” The judge also called it legal. Police officers are allowed to use deception when questioning suspects, but the approach in the Rutland case raised questions about whether investigators went too far. The police combined “a promise of leniency with a promise of protection and a guaranteed six month run as the happiest, most successful drug dealer in a three-county area,” defense attorney E.M. “Bud” Allen wrote in asking a judge to throw out defendant Corey Carter’s incriminating statements.