Citizens Against Police Entrapment (CAPE) 

Avoiding Police Entrapment

The following information was gathered from various sources. If you have any ideas or suggestions to add, please send them to staff@CAPE-DC.com. You can become a CAPE Crusader by supporting our work. As a donor, you get important benefits such as recorded interviews with experienced female escort-masseuses in which these women explain what you need to know to be safe from police entrapment. The women also tell you how to get the most “bang for your buck” when paying a woman in their profession to spend time with you.  For more information, visit our webpage "Masseuse-Escorts Audios."

 

In the opinion of CAPE, any police officer who is not in uniform and poses as a civilian offering goods or services for the purpose of arresting a citizen is engaged in entrapment. But most judges do not agree with this broad interpretation and are reluctant to throw out criminal charges except when entrapment is particularly egregious. It is therefore imperative that adults who seek to engage each other in consensual activities use caution to ascertain that the other person is not a police officer engaged in entrapment activities.

 

For example, here are some suggested precautions if you are a person who wants to be certain that a professional masseuse or escort you seek to hire is not a police officer engaged in entrapment activities.

 

If you are in your car and make contact with a professional on the street, never talk about services desired from her while she is leaning into the window of your car.  If you are interested in her, invite her into your car first.  If she won't get in, drive away.  It doesn't matter how good she looks, this may be a trap. Once she is in your car there is a 99 % chance she is not a cop. Cops don't like putting their safety on the line in this way.  However, you can always make absolutely sure she is not a cop by asking her to show you her vagina before you discuss anything.  Professionals may also ask you to show them your penis before talking about services available to make sure you too are not a cop.

 

As far as hotel or outcall services are concerned, similar rules apply. You might tell the professional, "I wouldn't think of paying for sex, but I was thinking about making a donation to your children's college fund - say $150." Be creative - if she is a cop, you're probably on video tape and as long as you have made it clear you don't want to pay for sex, you will not have a problem.  Again, you might ask the professional directly if she is a cop and, if not, to show you her vagina.  Cops typically will not go this far to entrap you.

 

Here’s what one experienced consumer of street-oriented services advises:

 

(1) Stop your car somewhere close to the professional, wait for her to come to you and get in.  DO NOT negotiate with her until she is in the car and you are driving away.  "Decoys" would like you to solicit sex for money while they are standing safely outside your car on the sidewalk ... don't make it easy for them.  If the professional says anything to you before she gets in your car, just say "Do you want a ride?" (i.e., pretend you think she is just a hitchhiker looking for a ride).  NEVER solicit sex from a professional standing outside of your car: if she wants to talk about sex before she gets in your car, just leave. Even if she is not a cop, it is too risky to find out.

 

(2) After she is in your car, drive away, but if she TELLS YOU where to go, be very suspicious (there may be cops or worse things waiting there for you).  Make small talk until you get several blocks away, like ask her her name, how old she is, if she is from the local area.  Many professionals will ask you if you are a cop, or you can ask her.  The answer means nothing, but you can ask her to "prove" that she is not a cop by lifting her shirt and letting you squeeze a breast...some professionals will ask you to unzip and pull it out or may give you a tongue kiss. Cops normally won’t engage in any of these activities since their case would probably be thrown out of court if they did.

 

This should keep you safe on the street.  For "incall" services such as "massage parlors" I have generally let the professional call the shots ... I let her do the solicitation.  If she solicits me, and we negotiate a fun time, then the professional will have a satisfied repeat customer.  If the professional never brings up the subject of sex (i.e., just does the "legal" thing), then I assume this is a nonsexual business and I look elsewhere for fun; she has lost my repeat business. Finally, don't "tip" a professional in advance for services you "hope" she will provide ... assume that she will do only exactly what was advertised or discussed in the "front room." If she asks for a tip, it is safe to ask her, What for? What exactly is she going to do for her tip? If she doesn't mention actual sex, then assume that there will be no sex, and tip accordingly.

 

Cops can and do say they are not cops. There's little point in asking. As to a safe way to pick up professionals on the street, tell them, "I'm just interested in doing a photo session." Real professionals will be thrilled, while cops will have to turn you down.

 

In the event you are arrested either due to your carelessness or the overzealousness of a police officer, you should know that there are two types of entrapment to consider as a defense. The first type of entrapment, "random virtue testing,” occurs when the police offer an individual the opportunity to commit a crime without reasonable suspicion that either that individual, or the place where that individual is located, is associated with the criminal activity under investigation. If police do have such a reasonable suspicion, they are still limited to providing only an opportunity to commit the offense.

The second form of entrapment occurs when the police go beyond merely providing an opportunity to commit an offense, and instead actually induce the commission of the offense. Some factors a court may consider when deciding whether police have induced the offense include the type of crime being investigated, whether an average person would have been induced, the persistence and number of attempts made by the police, the type of inducement used (e.g. fraud, deceit, reward), and the existence of express or implied threats.

The question of entrapment is only considered after there has been a finding of guilt. If, after finding the accused guilty, the court determines that the person was entrapped, the court will enter a judicial stay of proceedings. In effect, this is similar to an acquittal.

Entrapment charges often stem from vice crimes involving drugs, gambling or prostitution. Law enforcement agencies have the legal right to present their officers as drug dealers, prostitutes, bookmakers or other professional criminals. Contrary to popular belief, these undercover agents do not have to reveal their true identities or legal affiliation when asked. It is not considered police entrapment if an undercover officer presents a supply of drugs to a potential buyer. The buyer of those drugs commits a crime once the deal has been made, not during the initial contact with the undercover officer.

Law enforcement officers must be aware of their limitations during a sting operation to avoid later accusations of entrapment. An undercover officer working as a prostitute, for example, cannot initiate a conversation leading to the customer's solicitation offer. A defendant arrested for solicitation of a prostitute could claim that the undercover officer was flirtatious or made physical contact before identifying herself as a prostitute. An argument could be made that the solicitation was based on the officer's behavior, not on the defendant's intention to commit a crime.

Claims of entrapment can be notoriously difficult to prove. Some successful claims against law enforcement agencies have centered around the idea of a 'virtue test.' Police cannot select random citizens to participate in organized sting operations in hopes of generating an arrest. There must be some compelling evidence that a specific individual has a propensity for committing a crime.

Another reason entrapment is difficult to prove in court is the criminal history of the defendant. If the prosecution can demonstrate a previous history of similar crimes, then it becomes extremely difficult to prove entrapment. Again, providing an opportunity to commit a crime is not considered entrapment.

This is why police stings involving Internet sex crimes have been successful. Defendants may claim that adult police officers posing as underage chatroom participants constitutes entrapment. The reality is that the undercover agent only provided an opportunity for the suspect to initiate illegal conversations.

There have been a number of successful entrapment defenses mounted throughout the years, mostly involving high-level government stings. The operation itself may become criminal in nature, or an overzealous agent may have used coercive techniques to pressure someone into committing a crime. Many cases involving possible entrapment become very high-profile, such as the drug case against former automaker John DeLorean during the 1980s (see Our Heroes page) or the Abscam case involving a number of federal lawmakers accused of accepting bribes from foreign investors.

In criminal law, entrapment is committed by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. In many jurisdictions, entrapment is a possible defense against criminal liability. However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informer or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person. So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and government officers or their agents did no more than offer that opportunity.

On the other hand, if the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime except for inducement or persuasion on the part of some government officer or agent, then the person is not guilty.

In slightly different words: Even though someone may have sold drugs as charged by the government, if it was the result of entrapment then he is not guilty. Government agents entrapped him if three conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The idea for committing the crime came from government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.
  2. Government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.
  3. The person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him.
The best advice is to use caution so that you can avoid interacting with undercover police in the first place.

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The following letter was written by a man who responded to a Craigslist ad for "Casual Contacts" placed by a woman who wrote him (with her provocative photos) to say she would go to bed with him for a price. We offer his reply letter here as food for thought.

Dear xxxxx

 

First, let me thank you again for your quick and candid reply to my inquiry about your ad.

 

You have put all your cards on the table, so I will give you the courtesy of doing the same.

 

I am not your typical man seeking a good time, though I have money to spend on sex and have no qualms about doing so. But prostitution is illegal in DC, as it is in most of the US, and I don’t intend to break the law. But there is a way in DC to make great money with sex and do it as a legal business. It’s the sex film industry and frankly you’d be perfect in it.

 

You obviously have no qualms about people seeing you without your clothes on, just as I don’t, and letting them know you are a sexually experienced and unashamed woman. Beyond that, you are gorgeous, with great physical attributes. I too am well endowed and good looking, even as an older man. You are also highly intelligent as your writing and approach to sex demonstrate. But you are not smart enough to evade the police and prosecutors when they get around to investigating you, as they surely will someday.

 

As a sex film performer-entrepreneur, you will bring your sexiness and intelligence into making highly creative performances.  More importantly, you will be completely legal. The US Supreme Court has so declared and even the DC Police can’t get around that.

 

Sex film makers and performers get thousands of dollars for legally-permissible services (depending on sales), while you are getting just a fraction of that for illegal activity. I know what you’re thinking, “It’s massage, it’s massage!” But the police are smarter than you think and any judge who sees your ad or emails will convict you of “providing sexual stimulation for compensation.” You probably wouldn’t even fight an accusation in court for fear of getting more jail time by aggravating the judge. You’re even susceptible to blackmail for anyone who may want to turn you in.

 

Here’s the alternative. My proposal is that we make some videos and market them to adult websites and other outlets. It could mean a lot in your and my pocket for each one we make. We’ll have a 50-50 split on each one, and I’ll make sure you have a master copy of each video you make in case our partnership dissolves and you want to market them on your own. On top of that I’ll give you $100 for expenses at the end of each hour-long shoot. No one else will be on the set so the comfort level will be high.

 

The shooting can be done at your place or mine, though I prefer mine since I can control lighting conditions better there. You will be doing whatever you feel comfortable doing. I have in mind calling the series “For Women Only—Pleasing a Man.” Each video will include advice on how to get a man exited and climax through talk and stimulation. This will fill a real demand and will attract both men and women to view and buy the videos as being both educational and sexually arousing. Your photos had no trouble giving me an erection and I haven’t even seen you in action.

 

Please consider all this. Believe me, I think that consenting adults should be allowed to make a living any way they choose and I have been trying for years to exert my considerable political influence (even running as a candidate for office) to eliminate the stupid prostitution laws. But they continue to exist and they must be obeyed. On the other hand, sexual performances for compensation on video is our constitutional right. Why not take advantage of this and make a good legal living at it? Think about not worrying that your next customer might turn out to be a cop or informer, that your landlord will find out and evict you, that your family and friends will find you in jail. You can always continue to do what you’re doing until you don’t need to anymore, when your name and income as a sexual performer is well established.

 

Please consider my offer carefully and let me know by phone or email if you have any questions. I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, and soon you won’t either if you join me in this venture.

 

With all good wishes,

  xxxxx
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The following was written by James Bovard. Mr. Bovard is the author of Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin's Press, 1994) and Shakedown (Viking Press, 1995). As you read Mr. Bovard’s prophetic words, please consider becoming a CAPE Crusader by supporting our work. As a donor, you get important benefits such as recorded interviews with experienced female escort-masseuses in which these women explain what you need to know to be safe from police entrapment. The women also tell you how to get the most “bang for your buck” when paying a woman in their profession to spend time with you.  For more information, please visit our webpage “Masseuse-Escorts Audios.”


In recent years, entrapment schemes have exploded as government agencies seek to distract attention from their failure to protect citizens from real criminals and to maximize their power to intimidate the citizenry. Entrapment is "the act of officers or agents of the government in inducing a person to commit a crime not contemplated by him, for the purpose of instituting a criminal prosecution against him."

Up until the mid 1970s, defendants often successfully challenged entrapment schemes as a violation of due process. But in 1973, the Supreme Court, in an opinion written by William Rehnquist, gutted most defenses against government entrapment by focusing almost solely on the "subjective disposition" of the entrapped person. If prosecutors can find any inkling of a defendant's predisposition to commit the crime, then the person is guilty, no matter how outrageous or abusive the government agents' behavior. Rehnquist sneered that "the defense of entrapment is not intended to give the federal judiciary a 'chancellor's foot' veto over law enforcement practices of which it did not approve." Justice William Brennan dissented, warning that the decision could empower law enforcement agents to "round up and jail all 'predisposed' individuals."

Thanks to prevailing judicial sentiments, it is a federal crime to be unable to resist repeated acts of temptation by the government or to resist deadly threats from undercover agents intent on making a case. A 1982 Senate report on undercover operations condemned government agents for "the use of threats by police to induce targets to commit criminal acts" and "the manipulation by police of a target's personal or vocational situation to increase the likelihood of the target's engaging in criminal conduct." Despite this warning, entrapment operations have proliferated, leaving a trail of ruined lives and occasional dead bodies in its path.

In Los Angeles, police officers have gone undercover to pose as high-school students in order to implore other students to buy drugs for them, after which the students are arrested, expelled, and permanently denied federal college loans for their education. Some cops have even gotten romantically involved with their targets. The American Civil Liberties Union complained, "When other adults try to get young people involved with drugs, we call it contributing to the delinquency of a minor. When the LAPD does it, we call it the school-buy program."

In late 1992 and 1993, New Jersey school systems were compelled by the state attorney general's office to sign agreements authorizing police undercover operations (called "School Zone Narcotics Enforcement Working Groups") in their schools, despite the strong objections of some school officials. Across the nation, schoolchildren in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program have been encouraged to talk about relatives with drug problems; as a result, numerous parents have been busted.

In a 1992 Michigan case, a defendant alleged that undercover FBI agents lured his daughter out of a drug rehabilitation program and gave her cash to buy narcotics, which resulted in her getting readdicted to drugs. Federal drug officials have enticed individuals to accept government money and a government-supplied airplane to fly to Colombia to pick up cocaine; when the person returns, he is busted. Customs Service "controlled deliveries" accounted for more than half of all the cocaine seized by the Customs Service in south Florida in the late 1980s. The Texas State Highway patrol publicly complained a few years ago that most of the methamphetamine they were finding in the state was being supplied to people by the DEA. The DEA has even placed advertisements for chemical kits in magazines such as Popular Science; after a person places an order, DEA agents arrive to bust the person on drug conspiracy charges.

The Postal Inspection Service has specialized in sting schemes seemingly designed to turn normal postal workers into mass murderers. In Boston, one undercover inspector took advantage of a mail sorter's depression about his wife's recent death from brain cancer to ply him with marijuana — and then got him arrested and fired. In Miami, a recovering alcoholic mail carrier had cocaine repeatedly pressed into her palm by an undercover inspector. In Cleveland, 20 postal workers were fired because of false information provided by one informant who also robbed the till in his spare time. Postmasters and postal supervisors nationwide have encouraged abusive entrapment schemes because the Postal Service gave them cash bonuses based on the number of busts of their employees — a "dollars for collars" program. Congressman Bill Clay, chairman of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, declared in 1994: "These are the kind of activities — illegal as hell — that the Postal Inspection Service has been involved with for the last 10 years."

Such antics are increasingly being used to inflate arrest statistics. In 1987, a federal appeals court explicitly sanctioned the government's use of sex in order to persuade people to break the law: "The deceptive creation and/or exploitation of an intimate relationship does not exceed the boundary of permissible law enforcement tactics."

In 1990, federal agents recruited a former lover of Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry to fly to Washington, lure the mayor to her hotel room, and — after he refused seven times — persuade him to fire up a crack pipe. In Michigan, a man's wife and an undercover officer posing as her cousin hectored a man for two months to buy them cocaine; when the harried husband finally relented, he was busted for cocaine possession. A judge, reversing a lower court's conviction, threw the case out in 1991, ruling, "The [police] officer engaged in reprehensible behavior. Not only did the undercover officer initiate the crime, he exploited and manipulated a marital relationship and created a fictitious family relationship to carry out the crime."

A Nassau County, New York, judge dismissed charges in 1993 against a teacher who had fallen prey to an undercover cop who became her best friend, her confidante, and her business manager. The cop eventually enticed her into making a few small cocaine buys and then threatened to ruin her life unless she became an informant against a motorcycle gang; Judge Raymond Harrington observed, "The police chose to try to terrorize her into agreeing to help them."

Prostitution entrapment schemes are a dime a dozen among the nation's police forces. In August 1993, Charles County, Maryland, police were embarrassed by reports that two undercover officers visiting strip joints had gone too far while enjoying "personal lap dances." In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police placed a classified ad in a local paper advertising for men to work as paid escorts and then arrested 50 men who answered the ad for violating laws against prostitution.

In Honolulu, police paid private citizens to pick up prostitutes in their cars, engage in activity, pay, and then drive the prostitutes to nearby police cars for arrest. (The lawyer of one convicted prostitute complained: "You can now serve your community by fornicating. . . . Once the word gets out there will be no shortage of volunteers.") In Des Moines, Washington (a Seattle suburb), police hired a convicted rapist to have sex with masseuses. The local police explained that they hired the felon after plainclothes policemen themselves were unsuccessful in their attempts.

Federal law makes it a crime for a business or individual to have any hazardous waste product transported by a company that does not display its waste-hauling license. Naturally, this has inspired politicians to set up scams to snare businessmen. Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III set up an E-team undercover unit that created a phony business and mailed fliers to 600 businesses offering to haul away their waste for cut-rate prices. Two companies bit; one paid the front $65 to haul a single barrel of paint thinner waste that had been sitting around for three years. The grand tally of felons amounted to one grandmother and one part-time youth hockey coach. Attorney General Humphrey hailed the bust, claiming that it "sends out a powerful message: that we are going to be watching for those who intend to violate our hazardous waste transportation laws." But the scam was widely denounced throughout the state, and a judge not only threw out the charges but forced the government to cover the legal costs of the defendants.

The Food and Drug Administration launched a massive entrapment scheme in the nation's health food stores in July 1993 in order to gin up evidence for a congressional hearing on new laws to suppress the vitamin industry. FDA Commissioner David Kessler ordered investigators in all regions to go undercover to health food stores and ask for recommendations for dietary supplements to treat problems such as high blood pressure. As soon as a clerk would mention that garlic pills might help with blood pressure, the FDA was empowered to confiscate all the garlic pills in the store; the agency considers that such a claim makes all the garlic pills "misbranded," since the FDA has not recognized the medical benefits of garlic. FDA agents even labeled as guilty several health food clerks who merely handed the agents reference books discussing the general benefits of vitamins. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) declaimed, "It is hard to imagine a clearer case of government entrapment and misuse of taxpayer dollars."

Foolish laws fuel entrapment schemes. In 1984, President Reagan and Congress effectively coerced all states into raising the minimum age for purchasing alcohol to 21 — thereby creating millions of new criminals. In recent years, police across the nation have recruited 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds to go into liquor stores or bars to try to buy alcohol. (According to some liquor store owners, police recruit young males who look significantly older than their age.) After a buy is made, the police arrive, hand out arrest warrants — and later, press releases. The entrapment schemes have provided ammo for politicians to declaim about a "nationwide epidemic of underage drinking." However, no politician has yet explained how someone is fit to join the Marine Corps at age 17 but not fit for a beer until four years later.

The proliferation of entrapment schemes represents the triumph of an authoritarian concept of justice — that government should be allowed to do anything it chooses in order to catch anyone who any government official thinks might be a criminal. As Gail Greaney wrote in 1992 in the Notre Dame Law Review, "The due process defense is basically a nullity. . . . With each case, it appears that the line of intolerable police conduct is being pushed further toward the outlandish."

The criminal justice system is increasingly like a socialist factory, designed solely to maximize the number of convictions and the number incarcerated. Entrapment epitomizes the triumph of a "body count" approach to law enforcement. Entrapment schemes have proliferated partly because it is easier to manufacture crime than to protect private citizens. Entrapment schemes wreck individuals' lives in order to boost arrest statistics. Some politicians have sought to justify entrapment schemes as a necessary response to the crime wave in recent years. Thus, the argument goes, the worse the government fails to prevent crime, the more power government should have to violate people's constitutional rights.

The United States should take a lesson from new democracies such as Poland and the Czech Republic, which have banned almost all entrapment schemes as a violation of human rights. At a minimum, Americans called to jury duty should stand up for moral principle and refuse to convict their fellow citizens snared by government misconduct. Principled juries that refused to convict helped bring an end to Prohibition, and the same stand against tyrannical tactics can once again force politicians and police to cease this intolerable conduct.

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