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Author Topic: Do you have problems with the manner in which he was caught? Entrapment???  (Read 3464 times)

Jumboshrimps

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I fail to see how this is a legal impossibility in any event.  This scenario is essentially identical to the oft-cited example of shooting at an empty bed thinking that there's a living victim lying in it, when in actuality there's only a mannequin or a bundle of pillows underneath the sheets.  Both scenarios certainly sound like factual impossibility to me, and I'm not sure there is a convincing, principled distinction between the two.

Then again, I'm with those commentators who say the only truly "legal" impossibility is trying to commit an act which in actuality is not a crime, even though the actor believes it is.   ;)

This situation is distinguishable from the classic example in that the defendants in these cases haven't even "shot" at the empty bed. While a bullet would injure or kill a person, driving a car to a sting house would not constitute sex.



But the crime here is incomplete, or inchoate; we're dealing with attempt, not a completed crime.  What you raise, it would seem, is an issue of how the actus reus of attempt is defined.  If driving to a car after soliciting sex online is sufficient to satisfy the actus reus requirement of attempted sexual battery on a minor (or whatever the specific offense is), it doesn't seem to distinguish it from my example at all: shooting at an empty bed is equally sufficient to satisfy the actus reus requirement of attempted murder.

As you say, we are in the realm of inchoate crimes here. And as such, a defendant's actions are critical in that they evidence the firmness and extent of his intent. In my opinion, the actions of most defendants in Dateline-like sting operations do not sufficiently corroborate his apparent purpose to have sex with a minor. Frankly, I think most of these guys are completely indifferent to the age of the "victim." They are lonely perverts who want to have sex. They are certainly reckless as to the "girl's" age, but they lack specific intent to victimize a child. There are, of course, exceptions to this, which is yet another reason not to convict dangerous pedophiles under the same statutes that we convict idiot perverts.

Now, ad to the situation that the undercover agents are creating a fictional scenario when they log onto chat rooms as young girls to see who "bites." A critical question is this: How many ACTUAL 12-15 year old girls would a) be as open to meeting a strange older man as the decoy is? and b) actually arrange to meet with such a stranger?

Although actual children are sometimes victimized is similar cases, I suspect that the decoys are creating a largely fictional universe, so to speak, in which incredibly stupid  and lonely 13-yr-old girls are totally willing to turn a trip to the Harry Potter chatroom into a meeting with a hairy old guy for sex.   

slacker

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Now, ad to the situation that the undercover agents are creating a fictional scenario when they log onto chat rooms as young girls to see who "bites." A critical question is this: How many ACTUAL 12-15 year old girls would a) be as open to meeting a strange older man as the decoy is? and b) actually arrange to meet with such a stranger?

Although actual children are sometimes victimized is similar cases, I suspect that the decoys are creating a largely fictional universe, so to speak, in which incredibly stupid  and lonely 13-yr-old girls are totally willing to turn a trip to the Harry Potter chatroom into a meeting with a hairy old guy for sex.  
I wish I could be as certain as you are that the "decoys" are only a work of fiction -- but I'm not. Kids who are lonely and want attention will try for it in any way possible, which includes being what the old and harry man in the Harry Potter chatroom wants them to be. That's why it's easy for these guys to victimize kids; because kids make such good victims.

As for the rest of the discussion, thanks for that. I haven't taken many crim classes, and it's good to see the issues involved.

LawSchoolHopeful2009

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I fail to see how this is a legal impossibility in any event.  This scenario is essentially identical to the oft-cited example of shooting at an empty bed thinking that there's a living victim lying in it, when in actuality there's only a mannequin or a bundle of pillows underneath the sheets.  Both scenarios certainly sound like factual impossibility to me, and I'm not sure there is a convincing, principled distinction between the two.

Then again, I'm with those commentators who say the only truly "legal" impossibility is trying to commit an act which in actuality is not a crime, even though the actor believes it is.   ;)

This situation is distinguishable from the classic example in that the defendants in these cases haven't even "shot" at the empty bed. While a bullet would injure or kill a person, driving a car to a sting house would not constitute sex.



But the crime here is incomplete, or inchoate; we're dealing with attempt, not a completed crime.  What you raise, it would seem, is an issue of how the actus reus of attempt is defined.  If driving to a car after soliciting sex online is sufficient to satisfy the actus reus requirement of attempted sexual battery on a minor (or whatever the specific offense is), it doesn't seem to distinguish it from my example at all: shooting at an empty bed is equally sufficient to satisfy the actus reus requirement of attempted murder.

As you say, we are in the realm of inchoate crimes here. And as such, a defendant's actions are critical in that they evidence the firmness and extent of his intent. In my opinion, the actions of most defendants in Dateline-like sting operations do not sufficiently corroborate his apparent purpose to have sex with a minor. Frankly, I think most of these guys are completely indifferent to the age of the "victim." They are lonely perverts who want to have sex. They are certainly reckless as to the "girl's" age, but they lack specific intent to victimize a child. There are, of course, exceptions to this, which is yet another reason not to convict dangerous pedophiles under the same statutes that we convict idiot perverts.

Now, ad to the situation that the undercover agents are creating a fictional scenario when they log onto chat rooms as young girls to see who "bites." A critical question is this: How many ACTUAL 12-15 year old girls would a) be as open to meeting a strange older man as the decoy is? and b) actually arrange to meet with such a stranger?

Although actual children are sometimes victimized is similar cases, I suspect that the decoys are creating a largely fictional universe, so to speak, in which incredibly stupid  and lonely 13-yr-old girls are totally willing to turn a trip to the Harry Potter chatroom into a meeting with a hairy old guy for sex.   

Funny that you mention this because this does indeed occur with actual 12-15 year old girls. They're discussing this very issue on the pre-law board about how a 13 year old girl and her mother as suing Myspace for $30 million for not protecting teenage girls from sexual predators like these. A real 13 year old girl actually went and arranged a meeting with a sex offender and subsequently was sexually assualted by the man during this meeting. Trust me, it happens. This isn't something of fiction.

slacker

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I'd read about the MySpace case. I think that's bascially a search for deep pockets. If she'd met the guy on the street, would they be suing the concrete manufacturer?

Highway

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Funny that you mention this because this does indeed occur with actual 12-15 year old girls. They're discussing this very issue on the pre-law board about how a 13 year old girl and her mother as suing Myspace for $30 million for not protecting teenage girls from sexual predators like these. A real 13 year old girl actually went and arranged a meeting with a sex offender and subsequently was sexually assualted by the man during this meeting. Trust me, it happens. This isn't something of fiction.

I'm so tired of people trying to game the system. Shouldn't the MOTHER have been protecting the girl from sexual predators? There is no sense of personal responsibility anymore. Sue everybody for everything, regardless if you actually brought it on yourself. Reminds me of suing McDonald's for having hot coffee. Yes, I have heard the arguments on that one (coffee was "scaldingly hot" ; McDonalds had been told before it was too hot). Whatever. You bought it, you spilled it. Coffee is HOT. If you don't want hot coffee, buy it from a fridge at the 7-Eleven. Idiot.

If you don't want to be victimized by sexual predators, don't post half-naked pictures of yourself on a website and talk to strangers and invite them over. Maybe we can say the girl didn't know any better because of her age, but it's not the website's responsibility to monitor the actions of tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of users at all times. They provide a service, and the girl took advantage of that service. She even lied to open an account at age 13 instead of 14. The stupid lawyer wants the site to require a checking account or credit card to verify age before you can register! How many 14 - 18 year olds have a checking account or credit card? I'll venture that it's not a huge number.

As you can see, the whole thing has me in an uproar. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! It's not like the website was a defective product that caused an injury that the plaintiff could not have been made aware of. I maintain that it was the parent's responsibility to protect their child - not pawn off that duty to a website. They are bad parents and are trying to abdicate responsibility for that. They should be hauled off to prision for willfull neglect of a child instead of possibly getting rewarded with millions of dollars for being dumbasses.

Just my opinion.

Jumboshrimps

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Funny that you mention this because this does indeed occur with actual 12-15 year old girls. They're discussing this very issue on the pre-law board about how a 13 year old girl and her mother as suing Myspace for $30 million for not protecting teenage girls from sexual predators like these. A real 13 year old girl actually went and arranged a meeting with a sex offender and subsequently was sexually assualted by the man during this meeting. Trust me, it happens. This isn't something of fiction.
[/quote]

Of course this actually happens. I said so above. However, an adult decoy is not a 13 year old girl, and an adult decoy, no matter how good he or she is at the job, does not "chat" the way an actual girl does. There is no arguing that the situation is a fiction. Therre is also no arguing that children sometimes fall prey to online predators. The argument must be centered on whether the fiction is close enough to the reality to say that these men are guilty of a sex crime, the penalty for which is worse than death for many of them.   

J D

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Funny that you mention this because this does indeed occur with actual 12-15 year old girls. They're discussing this very issue on the pre-law board about how a 13 year old girl and her mother as suing Myspace for $30 million for not protecting teenage girls from sexual predators like these. A real 13 year old girl actually went and arranged a meeting with a sex offender and subsequently was sexually assualted by the man during this meeting. Trust me, it happens. This isn't something of fiction.

I'm so tired of people trying to game the system. Shouldn't the MOTHER have been protecting the girl from sexual predators? There is no sense of personal responsibility anymore. Sue everybody for everything, regardless if you actually brought it on yourself. Reminds me of suing McDonald's for having hot coffee. Yes, I have heard the arguments on that one (coffee was "scaldingly hot" ; McDonalds had been told before it was too hot). Whatever. You bought it, you spilled it. Coffee is HOT. If you don't want hot coffee, buy it from a fridge at the 7-Eleven. Idiot.

If you don't want to be victimized by sexual predators, don't post half-naked pictures of yourself on a website and talk to strangers and invite them over. Maybe we can say the girl didn't know any better because of her age, but it's not the website's responsibility to monitor the actions of tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of users at all times. They provide a service, and the girl took advantage of that service. She even lied to open an account at age 13 instead of 14. The stupid lawyer wants the site to require a checking account or credit card to verify age before you can register! How many 14 - 18 year olds have a checking account or credit card? I'll venture that it's not a huge number.

As you can see, the whole thing has me in an uproar. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! It's not like the website was a defective product that caused an injury that the plaintiff could not have been made aware of. I maintain that it was the parent's responsibility to protect their child - not pawn off that duty to a website. They are bad parents and are trying to abdicate responsibility for that. They should be hauled off to prision for willfull neglect of a child instead of possibly getting rewarded with millions of dollars for being dumbasses.

Just my opinion.

It all comes down to duty.  MySpace has no duty to protect its underage users from sexual attack (at least I don't think so).  Therefore, no liability.  But McDonald's, like all other manufacturers, does have a duty, in marketing its products, to guard against injuries that their products cause consumers through reasonably foreseeable use (or even misuse).  It's reasonably foreseeable that, if you sell coffee to go through a drive-thru window, there's a substantial risk that even ordinarily careful people will spill it on themselves.  When that happens, and it is certain that it will, McDonalds should be looking after their safety by not selling coffee that is so hot that it will give you 3d-degree burns and require skin grafts.  Had they sold the coffee at about 50 degrees cooler temperature, it wouldn't have caused Liebeck such horrible injury; McDonald's was negligent, or at least a rational jury could have found them so (and did).  The cases seem quite different in my mind; easily distinguishable.
"I never think of the future.  It comes soon enough."--Albert Einstein

jacy85

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an adult decoy, no matter how good he or she is at the job, does not "chat" the way an actual girl does.

Having read some of the conversations put in evidence in these cases, I can assure you that these officers are familiar with how girls chat.  They use the slang, they misspell words, and if you didn't know they were police officers, you'd think it could be any 12 year old kid in your neighborhood.

And to assume that all these girls post nude pics of themselves is just naive.  Yes, there are girls that do.  But many don't, and they're not looking to get molested by some sick ass.  These kids don't have a generic profile, but many have been abused before, and have low self esteem.  Many are just lonely little girls that may or may not have family problems. And many are just normal kids who, despite parental supervision, are able to slip things past their parents, hide their convos using lingo their parents don't get, and lie to go meet these people, using bad judgment.  I'm not arguing with the point that many parents need to be way more diligent, but there's seriously only so much a parent can do.

But to say that all these girls are essentially whores that are "asking for it" by posting "sexy" pics of themselves is just a disgusting point of view, IMO.  Hopefully, none of your girlfriends/sisters/wives/etc. will be raped wearing anything at all short/clingy/sexy, and then have to hear "she asked for it."

slacker

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Of course this actually happens. I said so above. However, an adult decoy is not a 13 year old girl, and an adult decoy, no matter how good he or she is at the job, does not "chat" the way an actual girl does. There is no arguing that the situation is a fiction. Therre is also no arguing that children sometimes fall prey to online predators. The argument must be centered on whether the fiction is close enough to the reality to say that these men are guilty of a sex crime, the penalty for which is worse than death for many of them.   
Honestly, I don't think these guys are the best judges of "is it really a teen girl or not." The part of the body they're thinking with isn't doing a lot of rational analysis.

Jumboshrimps

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Of course this actually happens. I said so above. However, an adult decoy is not a 13 year old girl, and an adult decoy, no matter how good he or she is at the job, does not "chat" the way an actual girl does. There is no arguing that the situation is a fiction. Therre is also no arguing that children sometimes fall prey to online predators. The argument must be centered on whether the fiction is close enough to the reality to say that these men are guilty of a sex crime, the penalty for which is worse than death for many of them.   
Honestly, I don't think these guys are the best judges of "is it really a teen girl or not." The part of the body they're thinking with isn't doing a lot of rational analysis.

Precisely. They are human- normal even. One thing they all have in common is stupidity, but that has never been against the law.