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Appellate Justices Amend Sex Entrapment Ruling Against Huntington Beach Police

A California Court of Appeal that last month rebuked a Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) sting operation targeting adults in pursuit of minors for sex on Craigslist has refused a California Attorney General’s office request to reconsider its decision, but nonetheless softened it stance in the case. Full Article

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It’s very troubling to think HB law enforcement officers have nothing better to do than craft these witch hunting schemes and entice criminal behavior.

I was reading this and the part about it being the adult listings on Craigslist made me start to wonder about something. Years ago, in order to enter a chat room on Yahoo, a person had to click something acknowledging themselves to be at least 18 years of age. If someone were set up in a chat sting in a Yahoo chat room at the time and convicted similarly, would this decision possibly affect that conviction?

You raise a very interesting point!

td777, first, all any of us here can answer you is our own opinion, which isn’t going to carry much weight in court. 🙂 And I read only the news story, not the actual opinion. But tossing in my two cents on this, it seems to me to be as unclear as can be, it would be a judgement issue on all the very specific details of a particular case by the judge before whom you appear. The court here judged specific details of this specific case — and if another case has any variation in details, the conclusion after weighing the factors could come out very differently. They weighed and balanced it altogether, not just one point in a vacuum. Another case more likely than not would have some details the same, and others not quite so. So who knows how the court would balance that out.

But note, in this case, there were several things, including that they did not reveal a lower age until long into the conversation over time (I’m not clear on exactly when or how), and only a couple weeks before the planned meeting did they change the age on My Space to 17 (I can’t tell if that means it previously had indicted over 18 on MY Space, as he was charged with seeking someone of age 13, so at some point she must have been represented as 13). Simply making first contact in a forum where you cannot enter unless you first say you are over 18 was not all that the court weighed. And the court here did not rest its decision strictly the fact that you have to click that you are 18 in order to go to that CL forum, so it is unlikely that that alone would be sufficient to apply this case.

As for your scenario, you gave only the one detail of clicking to enter the chat room. You said nothing of when the age below 18 was revealed, or how the conversation had gone before that, that is whether he was already lured in and hooked and then a number was dropped, maybe obliquely. It was the pattern of luring and hooking that they weighed here.

Over time, I believe we will see more and more of the internet sting convictions reversed, altered or changed. Lazy police work has created a number of criminals through these types of schemes.

why go on to Craigslist in the first place. I never found anything on there worth my time. I even tried to sell a couch, and I just would get people trying to sell me something. do’t ever both… your just looking for trouble if you go on there.

Is entrapment acceptable when the trapped is a prior registrant?

It seems like the same tactics were employed and LE contacted the defendant and set him up like the above article from the same city:

“…the intent to commit the charged offenses, by seeking out a 13-year-old girl, originated in the mind of the police officers involved in the investigation…”

This article also stated that “” ‘s lifetime registration as a sex offender bars him from entering County recreational areas and City parks which have passed the Sex Offender Ordinance.”” That sends out a false sense of security to people who may be casually mingling with registrant families in parks or on beaches today.(as if they’d notice the difference)

I like how they refer to the exclusion zones as Child Protection Safety Zones. If these numbnuts would do their research, they’d see that every home with a minor child should also have that same tag since the overwhelming majority of molestations occur by a trusted family member or close friend of the family. Perhaps police squad cars, stations and Explorer groups should be deemed Child Protection Safety Zones too, because law enforcement officers are committing an alarming number of molestations and sex crimes. Just wondering,after all, we have to do it “for the children”

HBPD launched the sting operation because there seems to be an endless supply of sexual predators searching for underage kids to molest in Southern California.
I like that reporting! The thoughts most definitely do originate in the minds of lazy law enforcement who are in bed with overzealous prosecutors. Those cases are easy to prosecute because the “predator” is generally a white male, around 50, divorced and no past criminal history. They swoop down like a hungry pack of wolves and arrest the perp, put the picture on the front page and evening news. Most defense attorneys goal is for a quickie “deal” and entrapment is pooh-poohed because they caught you red-handed. The perp takes the deal to avoid an embarrassing trial, all the while receiving threats of years in prison unless…and of course, one takes the lesser of the evils. Who actually has 50-75 grand to go to trial, when a plea bargain is only 20 thousand? You’re in shock, beat down and broke and some unscrupulous DA gets another notch in his pistol.

Mike: if you are a prior SO, you can still be found to be entrapped objectively in theory although I have not heard about such a case. There seems to be an epidemic throughout this country with these rogue law enforcement agencies conducting stings like mad with no reason for backing them up with good, solid statistics. What it boils down to is about $$$$. The DoJ is pumping out tons of free money in grants as long as law enforcement can show that there is a problem. What better way to do it than create criminals by cooking the books. That pretty much sums it up. Florida is by far the worst!

California has two very bad counties; Orange and Santa Clara Counties. Here’s what I ran across during the “sting”. Initial contact was made by the cops posing as a college student…harmless. This was in an adult chat room, not X-rated, just clearly adult. It progressed to instant messaging where this victim said she was younger. Over the course of 8 months and after repeated urgings by the victim and emails from the victim they got their desired result. Here’s the kicker…they initiated contact for each IM, they begged, pleaded and cajoled for a meet. So during discovery when asked for the chat room log and the emails they sent, the DA said very casually, “we lost those”, and if you want a copy from your hard drive, there’s no telling what we would find! First arrest, deer in the headlights, scared sh**less, and worst of all a useless, spineless attorney that did nothing but take $20,000 I didn’t have. Without a trial the total cost was $50,000, bail, restitution, drug testing (?!) etc. etc. Lest I get reamed for not stopping this early on, just know I made a choice, I took responsibility for it. Good people do bad (foolish) things, but it doesn’t make them bad people.
The whole point is, police are lazy, they’re opportunists and they will create criminals to justify their existence and receive federal grant money. What I went through is very much typical of a police sting in both Orange and Santa Clara Counties, they’re dirty…

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x