Normally to frame somebody means

3 informal produce false evidence against (an innocent person) so that they appear guilty

Now what in case of a cautious criminal who took care to hide/remove the evidence of their crimes, and now someone in the know returns the evidence to its place, replaces false records with real ones, restores removed clues etc., so that the authorities can find the criminal rightfully guilty?

Does that still count as framing?

If not, is there a name for this kind of activity?

  • 2
    I'd call that being exposed
    – Jim
    Dec 11, 2012 at 3:10
  • 1
    Yeah, that's not being framed. 'Framing' means someone intentionally having an innocent (of a given crome) mistaken for the real criminal.
    – Mitch
    Dec 11, 2012 at 3:26
  • It's probably too rare an activity to be assigned a label. Anyone concerned to see justice prevail would probably just denounce our "cautious criminal" (he'd presumably have discovered the evidence, records and other clues in what must be "incriminating circumstances"). Either Too Localised, or NARQ Dec 11, 2012 at 5:01
  • 1
    I would call this to set up rather than to frame. (Although dictionaries like here don't really make that distinction, so I'm not sure.)
    – Mr Lister
    Dec 11, 2012 at 7:17
  • That guy was re-framed!
    – GEdgar
    Dec 11, 2012 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


The name for the activity is planting evidence.

That's an interesting distinction you draw in your question. By the way, it's only not framing if law enforcement is correct in their assumption about who the real purpetrator is. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Another word for planting evidence on someone innocent is frameup.

Here's an interesting discussion on framing the guilty (although it's written from the perspective of television plot lines, not law enforcement, so I can't attest to its accuracy from a legal standpoint).

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