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People v. Jamieson

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Jamieson and co-defendants were charged with delivering cocaine to inmates in prison, while working as guards.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Entrapment requires that the government's conduct is so reprehensible that it would induce a hypothetical unwilling person to engage in the same conduct, which the defendant engaged in.

    Facts.

    While working undercover, a police officer obtained cocaine from the Drug Enforcement Administration and gave it to a guard at county jail, who proceeded to deliver the cocaine to inmates in exchange for money. Varner, the inmate whom the guard delivered the cocaine, acted as an informant, which included deciding which guards to target. After the undercover operation was complete the cocaine was returned to authorities and the guards were charged with delivering the cocaine. The trial court found in favor of the defendants, citing entrapment, and the appellate court affirmed. Cert was granted.

    Issue.

    Whether entrapment requires that the government's conduct is so reprehensible that objectively it would induce a hypothetical unwilling person to engage in the same conduct, which the defendant engaged in.

    Held.

    Yes. Entrapment requires that the government's conduct is so reprehensible that objectively it would induce a hypothetical unwilling person to engage in the same conduct, which the defendant engaged in.

    Discussion.

    Entrapment involves police or government activity that would induce a person to commit a crime that they would not otherwise commit, but for that procurement. There are two tests, a subjective and objective test. The subjective test looks too whether the defendant was merely an innocent person induced to commit a  crime through police activities. The objective test looks to the conduct of the officers and whether that conduct fell below the standards of a reasonable police officer. Traditionally, entrapment is only available to defendants if the officers implement the criminal scheme into the mind of the defendant. Courts prefer the objective test because their focus is on prohibiting police or government from engaging in conduct that falls below acceptable standards. Here, the defendants were not wrongfully entrapped because the officers conduct was not reprehensible and the officers did not choose which guards to target, but Varner, the inmate, did. Varner did not have the ability to prey on the guards weaknesses and induce them into selling cocaine because he was their subordinate, and not in a position of strength. At no time did the officers force, pressure, or induce the guards into delivering the cocaine. The judgment of the trial court is reversed.


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