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In the United States criminal law, a frame-up (frameup) or setup is the act of framing someone, that is, providing false evidence or false testimony in order to falsely prove someone guilty of a crime.[1] While incriminating those who are innocent might be done out of sheer malice, framing is primarily used as a distraction.

Generally, the person who is framing someone else is the actual perpetrator of the crime. In other cases it is an attempt by law enforcement to get around due process. Motives include getting rid of political dissidents or "correcting" what they see as the court's mistake. Some lawbreakers will try to claim they were framed as a defense strategy.

Frameups in labor disputes sometimes swing public opinion one way or the other. In Massachusetts, during the 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike, Massachusetts State Police officers acting on a tip discovered dynamite and blamed it on the Industrial Workers of the World union. National media echoed an anti-union message. Later, the police revealed that the dynamite had been wrapped in a magazine addressed to the son of the former mayor. The man had received an unexplained payment from the largest of the employers. Exposed, the plot swung public sympathy to the IWW.[2]

Frameups often use conspiracy theories to hide the true crimes of the accused.[citation needed]

A frameup where a police officer shoots an unarmed suspect and then places a weapon near the body is a form of police misconduct known as a "throw down". This is used to justify the shooting by making it appear that the officer fired in self-defence or to defend other bystanders.[3]

In British usage, to frame, or stitch up, is to maliciously or dishonestly incriminate someone or set them up, in the sense trap or ensnare.

Notable frame-ups[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "frame-up - Definitions from". Archived from the original on 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
  2. ^ Peter Carlson (1983). Roughneck, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood. p. 163. ISBN 9780393016215.
  3. ^ Fifth Circuit (28 October 1982). "689 F. 2d 1220 - Webster v. City of Houston". F2d (689). paragraph 29. Retrieved 17 April 2015 – via {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Zeliger, Robert. "Smear campaign against hero of 'Hotel Rwanda'?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  5. ^ "The story of Hôtel des Mille Collines". The New Times | Rwanda. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  6. ^ Burke, Jason (31 August 2020). "'Hotel Rwanda' inspiration Paul Rusesabagina held on terror charges". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Frameups at Wikimedia Commons