13
   

STINGS ARE ENTRAPMENT

 
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 06:56 pm
Several "stings" have been undertaken recently to entrap people who visit various porn sites and make contacts with people posing as young girls who are seeking sex with men. Weve had several prominent professionals in the Central Pa area get caught in these stings and are being charged with various crimes including assignation with a minor. In all cases, the "minor" has been some State Cop whose been acting as an internet contact and role playing to entrap the males.

The more I read about several of these, the more Im questioning the legality and Constitutionality of this kind of operation . Id call it entrapment and should be tossed out, unfortunately, so far, the entrapped have been having their lives destroyed and have been found guilty by courts eager to prosecute for "lusting in the mind".

 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 07:02 pm
@farmerman,
Most cases I read like that, there is no arrest until they arrive at a time and place to meet someone they think is a minor. That means it has gone past just the mind to intent to act on it.

I understand what you are saying fm. It is somewhat similar to putting $10,000 on the sidewalk and then charging grand theft to anyone that might pick it up. The temptation is made that otherwise would not be available.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 07:29 pm
They are not interacting with young girls at all; just cops. That's a tough one, since they clearly intend to meet the made up persons.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 08:30 pm
@parados,
In each case the entrapped one has driven to a location to meet the cop who's posing as a young girl. Im just not sure that, with the communications that had gone on before the meeting, IS the language that was used so direct or has the entrapped one gradually been ensnared by an unfolding scripted approach.
The one guy, a prominent dentist , had been searching the net for porn I suppose and then entered A site where he "met" the cop posing as a yound girl (the cop said he was 14).

I cant believe that the guy was going to not act on his "urges" and, should it have been a real 14 year old, my logic does fall apart. However, setting up an elaborate sting with weeks of communications where the cops set up the circumstances of the meeting and had been a leader in the suggestive conversation, Im just not sure that weve crossed over a line of privacy and have stomped on several amendments of the Constitution.

I was wondering about these borderline cases when the LArry Craig case was opened. If we recall, Craig, A Minn GOP, was caught in a gay "mens room" sting operation.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 08:43 pm
To me the lines get blurry... I would want to know the exact details before I passed judgment on either the cop, or the "victim".

If these men were looking for underage girls before the sting-- i.e. if they had not found a cop would have found someone else, then I wouldn't have a problem with the cops actions. I imagine they keep a transcript of all communications for court, and this would be interesting to see.

It seems to me that there are proper ways for cops to do this kind of thing to catch adults who are looking for children.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 08:52 pm
@farmerman,
In Pennsylvania, the burden is on the defendant to prove entrapment, which requires a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that a law enforcement officer:

Quote:
... employs methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such an offense will be committed by persons other than those who are ready to commit it.

Here is the statute (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 313):

Quote:
§ 313. Entrapment

(a) General rule.--A public law enforcement official or a person acting in cooperation with such an official perpetrates an entrapment if for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of an offense, he induces or encourages another person to engage in conduct constituting such offense by either:

(1) making knowingly false representations designed to induce the belief that such conduct is not prohibited; or

(2) employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such an offense will be committed by persons other than those who are ready to commit it.

(b) Burden of proof.--Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, a person prosecuted for an offense shall be acquitted if he proves by a preponderance of evidence that his conduct occurred in response to an entrapment.

In Pennsylvania, the test is an objective one. A few Pennsylvania cites that illustrate the basic issues:

Quote:
The test for entrapment is whether the criminal design was created by the officer or whether the officer merely afforded an opportunity for the commission of a crime by the person already disposed to commit the crime, in which case there is no entrapment. Com. v. Brumbach, 97 Dauph. 7 (1974).

Entrapment is no defense where Commonwealth did nothing more than offer defendant opportunity to commit crime. Com. v. Wright, 340 A.2d 544, 235 Pa.Super. 289 (1975).

Objective test of entrapment does not affect the guilt of the accused; guilt is conceded; the defense allows an otherwise guilty defendant to go unpunished because the legislature has determined that seriously objectionable police conduct may not be tolerated. Com. v. Jones, 363 A.2d 1281, 242 Pa.Super. 303 (1976).

Now, as to the internet sting type of case .....

Quote:
Use by law enforcement of Internet sting operation was not so egregious as to constitute entrapment, in prosecution for criminal attempt to commit statutory sexual assault and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; officer, posing on Internet as 15-year-old girl, merely provided defendant with perceived opportunity to meet and engage in oral sex, officer did not attempt to overcome defendant's will by submitting photographs of girl, and when defendant expressed concern over illegality of rendezvous, officer, posing as girl, indicated that she would simply call the whole thing off. Internet sting operation, in which law enforcement officer posed as a 15-year-old girl, did not violate public policy. Com. v. Zingarelli, 839 A.2d 1064, Super.2003, reargument denied, appeal denied 856 A.2d 834, 579 Pa. 692.

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 01:44 am
@farmerman,
What evidence do you have that these stings use " people posing as young girls who are seeking sex with men."

I have seen a large number of the dialogues used in such stings here, and NONE of them have police posing as children "seeking sex with (adult) men.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 04:46 am
Good responses all, and Im especially thankful for your "Purdon" style info Tico. The facilitation of a meeting for sex with a minor is the issue. I dont know how active a participant the cop was. However (deb) , the cop involved was a veteran male cop posing as a 14 year old girl. Actually that really isnt the issue (IMHO). My issue of concern is what Tico expressed, that the cops can only be a facilitator of a potential crime that is "greadually unfolding" in the perps mind. I guess my concern was that the cops were "trolling" and were sucking this guy in , and he was caught unknowingly as he was using the net to satisfy his baser needs. The newspapers , in quoting the guy, were presenting a picture of this guy as an "upstanding" citizen who, while trolling for porn, came across a "Facebook" style site by reference from a previous link. This led to his becoming ensnared in the ongoing sting operation .(The fact is that the same sting captured 4 or 5 others, mostly grad students ).

Im going to read the Tico cites and compare notes. Obviously I dont have the complete story and all I know is whats presented in the media.It just gave me some concern about rights being smooshed by overeager cops trying to score some easy targets.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 04:58 am
@farmerman,
BTW, I took a side on this just to get some reasoned information and opinion about the whole bases of these kind of sting ops. They are so foreign a concept to me that I wonder about "barely legal" style ads that wait in que in our inboxes. The dentist, if he got the first urge to go fishing for sex (and the issue was that it was a statutory rape case not anything involving "deviant intercourse". The cops just stacked their case based upon "Simple sex with an underage little girl" and that was their entire MO.
As a parent, Im glad that this technology is being used to sweep the streets of these guys, However, as somebodey whose interested in rights, I wonder whether a broom is the wrong instrument.

The guy was arraigned on Friday so Ill have a chance to read further this AM
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 06:54 am
@Ticomaya,
The case , as quoted in the ppers report of the araignment stated that , in the defense's position the law officers did indeed
Quote:
... employ methods of persuasion or inducement that created a substantial risk that such an offense would have been committed by persons other than those who are ready to commit it.
(ie , the defendant).

How does the presumption of innocense play against the defendants need to prove that he was entrapped?
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 08:01 am
@farmerman,
Actually, fp, I think there IS a difference between cops posing as kids who actively seek sex from older people, as opposed to posing as kids from whom adults come to seek sex.

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 08:26 am
When I opened a myspace page a few years ago, I rarely used it and when I did, it was to post lyrics and short stories. The only response I ever got was the occasional girl seeking friendship, and in every case, they prominently listed their age as fifteen. Well, I simply ignored them, and finally deleted my page. I suspected it was a law agency seeking to entrap me.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 09:18 am
Aren't all these prostitute sting operations where a female cop openly solicits "Johns",also a form of entrapment? Coming from a country where prostitution is legal, I always thought these stings were highly questionable.

As for the underage entrapments, I believe several of these sensationalistic
TV shows have done these types of stings where an undercover cop posted
as a 14 year old in several chat forums and engaged in quite explicit suggestive language by inviting potential suitors to her home while the parents are out.
They showed excerpts of the language used, and my 13 year old daughter
would not know how to conduct herself in such a manner, and I highly doubt
than underage girls are THIS explicit and suggestive.

Most of the guys who showed up at the TV sting weren't necessarily pedophiles, they just got aroused from the initial explicit contact and acted on it - without using their brains of course - nonetheless one can't help but think
if this was all legitimate.

chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 11:37 am
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

They showed excerpts of the language used, and my 13 year old daughter
would not know how to conduct herself in such a manner, and I highly doubt
than underage girls are THIS explicit and suggestive.


Can you provide a link to to those excerpts?

Even without reading them, I'd have to respectfully disagree there cj.

Nothing would surprise me about the sexuality of a 13 year old, and what they would do/say as far as being explicit and suggestive.

They might get frightened at the last moment, if they were actually with someone, but that not the point.

High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 02:46 pm
@farmerman,
Farmerman - it does seem like entrapment to me as well, esp. as it parallels famous cases like federal agents selling large quantities of cocaine to DeLorean, at a time he was desperate for ready cash to save his car company. That jury found him not guilty, but it was in California, and perhaps PA's laws differ. In New York we had a "real" case recently, ie not involving entrapment >
Quote:
Weber was offended by messages on Craigslist and other Web sites written in youth argot he called "ghetto speak." Among examples he cited said on Feb. 1, the "most outlandish" was "a little ditty from a gay kid trying to find another guy to have sex with."

It read: "yo was gd itz ur rikan kat n the bx lookn 4 peeps n problly more. most likely i wont find what i want here but hey letz give it a try lol. first off if u lookn for sex old or fat keep it moving ya digg. lookn fo on point educated dudes no thugs only gentlemen im madd koo fun agrseivve love 2 cuddle love 2 smoke..."

After Weber had failed to report for work at ABC on Friday and again on Saturday, police officers found Weber dead in his bed, bloodied from some 50 stab wounds, with his feet bound by duct tape.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--radioreporterslay0327mar27,0,1732911.story
> and I know about de mortuis etc, but find it very hard to feel sympathy for this particular victim. I've sympathy for the people who may have just gone on dates out of curiosity to meet young women in public places and suddenly got hit with "sexual predator" charges involving "children", where "children" means anybody under 18, let alone burly older policemen. It's a repulsive charge, that ruins the accused even if he's later found not guilty.
0 Replies
 
tycoon
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 02:57 pm
How's this for entrapment:

Minnesota State Lottery officials had ordinary citizens go into convenience stores with "winning" tickets and ask the person behind the counter if the ticket numbers matched last night's drawing. The prizes started at $7000. Several of the minimum wage employees said no and offered to dispose of the worthless scrap of paper for them. They were promptly arrested and charged with felonies.

BTW, Larry Craig is an Idaho senator.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 03:43 pm
@tycoon,
Quote:
BTW, Larry Craig is an Idaho senator.
yeh sorry, he was caught in the Minneapolis AP.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 04:04 pm
The state should not be in the business of using morally dubious acts in the attempt to catch the "bad guys". A sting should only be used to gain evidence against persons who are already believed to be breaking the law, it should not be used as a sieve to find the "bad guys". Roadblocks to catch drunk drivers are for the same reasons bad acts by the state
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 04:29 pm
@farmerman,
There will be an article in VF about this subject from a position of one "stung".
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Mar, 2009 04:43 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
There will be an article in VF about this subject from a position of one "stung".


the story of the decades long escalation of the abuse of the individual at the hands of the state as well as the corporate interests (too often working together I should add) is finally getting some traction in the national discussion. The problem has gotten too bad to be ignored.
 

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