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Applying the Doctrines of Entrapment and Outrageous Government Conduct - Essay Example

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The jurisprudence surrounding entrapment and outrageous government conduct as valid defenses in a criminal prosecution remains to be much discussed, and the debates on whether and when these defenses may be employed remain to be the subject of much debate and controversy. …
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Applying the Doctrines of Entrapment and Outrageous Government Conduct
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Download file to see previous pages The need to balance the demands of law and order, on the one hand, and the rights of the accused to due process on the other, is the central dilemma that undergirds the debate. Fortunately, there are cases where the facts are of such clarity that it is not difficult to come up with a ruling that can be justified by both jurisprudence and the principles of the Constitution. It is respectfully submitted that this case is one of them. Based on the facts of the case, there is enough legal basis to rule in favor of the accused and grant his acquittal on the basis of the defense of “outrageous government conduct.” Outrageous government conduct The notion that behavior of state agents that “shocks the conscience” could constitute a violation of the right to due process of the accused and consequently, could secure the dismissal of the charges against him was first laid down in the case of Rochin v. California [342 us 165 (1952)]. In that particular case, the officers forcibly induced the accused to vomit capsules that they believed to be containing drugs. This decision served as the progenitor of the defense of “outrageous government conduct”, which essentially provides an extraordinary defense to the accused in a situation wherein the police had acted in an appalling, reprehensible manner that violated basic precepts of justice and decency. This was further refined in the case of United States v. Russell(1973):  "[W]e may someday be presented with a situation in which the conduct of law enforcement agents is so outrageous that due process principles would absolutely bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction (citing Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165. It must be underscored that only extremely exceptional cases should be considered here. A mere failure to disclose one’s role as an undercover informer does not come under the definition of outrageous conduct, as in the case of Hoffa v. United States [385 US 293 (1966)], nor does using an assumed name and identity in conducting at telephone transaction, as in the case of Lewis v. United States [385 US 206 (1966)]. In this case, while there is no showing that physical violence was employed against the accused, the behavior of the police officer Friday was equally egregious. He had practically forced the accused to commit the crime that he wanted him to commit, in a desperate attempt to have some output for his superiors who were expecting him to bust a drug ring. It must be noted that the criminal charges were for the possession of eight ounces of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute the same. The eight ounces of cocaine only came about because he forced the accused to get the other 4 ounces on credit, when the accused only wanted 4 ounces. But even more reprehensible is the use of Jane, who Friday knew to be someone that Bob had an eye for. The only reason that Bob was persuaded to proceed with the transaction was because Friday deployed Jane to tell him that she would go home with him if he had the cocaine. It is even more reprehensible that Friday had engaged in sexual relations with this woman whilst undercover in his job, and using her to achieve his ends. This kind of behavior is truly galling and deserves reproach. Entrapment In truth, it may even be argued that the defense of entrapment is available to Bob. The Supreme Court makes a distinction between the defense of entrapment and the defense of outrageous government conduct, a distinction which was laid down in the case of Hampton v. United States [425 US 484 (1976]. The defense of entrapment employs a subjective standard, it means that for the defense to be available to the accused, he has to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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