No Crime No Problem

December 6, 2014

All Posts, News

Entrapment is as American as cherry pie, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

A three judge panel overturned the dismissal of a case against two men named Antuan Duane “Rat Tone” Dunlap and Joseph Cornell “Baby Flip” Whitfield who had been charged with conspiring to rob an entirely imaginary cocaine stash house. The imaginary crime was invented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It is a standard technique of the Bureau to entice financially vulnerable men to participate in crimes invented by the ATF. In at least some of these stings, the ATF runs credit checks on potential entrapees to verify their financial vulnerability. Over and over, the men are offered a standard fee of $1,000 for agreeing to a few hours of low risk work. In some cases, men are unaware of what sort of illegal deal they will participate in until literally seconds before the actual crime is underway. Typically the victims of these stings are asked to provide “security” for drug deals or drug robberies. ATF agents or other undercover agents provocateur play the parts of the robbers and the robbery victims, or the drug sellers and the buyers. The ATF supplies the men to be entrapped with guns and body armor. Typically the ATF supplies tens of kilos of cocaine or methamphetamine as theatrical props. During one recent “sting “ in Las Vegas the ATF rented a private airstrip and supplied a private plane and pilot. A federal prosecutor in Los Angeles named Reema El-Amamy once described these stings as “guerilla street theater.”

There Might Go Judge Wright

In 2007, a lawyer named Andrew Carlon coined the term “The Sadistic State” to describe such entrapments. Carlon described the Sadistic State as “a state that has decided that, since its unique function is the power to punish, it must pursue punishment as an intrinsic good, independent of desert (or, indeed, of the other, more consequentialist aims of punishment), transforming itself into a punishment machine.” Undeserved punishment, Carlon argues, “reduces to sadism” and leads to a state “which wields power, most fully realized through the infliction of pain, as an end in itself, the human beings in its power merely means to that awful end.”

Last March, Judge Otis D. Wright, a black, former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy whose rulings generally favor prosecutors, seemed to have been genuinely touched by the sadism demonstrated in the entrapment of Dunlap and Whitfield and ruled that it amounted to “outrageous government conduct.” Wright wrote that a “reverse-sting operation like this one transcends the bounds of due process and makes the Government the oppressor of its people.”

Three Wise Fools

The appeals court was neither touched nor convinced as Wright had been. Judges Atsushi Wallace Tashima, William A. Fletcher and Jay Bybee ruled that the ATF entrapment did not meet “the extremely high standard necessary to dismiss an indictment for outrageous government conduct.”

The three judges also ruled that because the appeals court had been wrong before it had no choice but to continue to be wrong. “We have previously held that similar reverse-sting operations, if properly conducted, are a permissible law enforcement tactic” the three judges ruled. “While we, like the district court, question the wisdom of the government’s expanding use of fake stash house sting operations, we are bound by our court’s prior decisions holding that when such sting operations are conducted, as in this case, within the guidelines established by our precedent, they do not violate due process and cross the line into outrageous government conduct.”

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28 Responses to “No Crime No Problem”

  1. Rebel Says:

    Dear KCToon,

    I just tell the stories. Forewarned is forearmed.

    It is almost always $1,000. If somebody offers to pay you $1,000 to work security at some nebulous deal, turn it down. If you do show up for some easy money and somebody tries to hand you a Glock .40 and body armor, run in the opposite direction.


  2. KCToon Says:

    It was a thought crime, wasn’t it? The brave new world. We’ve gone past CIA torture, pigs shooting civilians for no legal reason, and stealing the property of a chosen sect/race/tribe/ideology. Now we are convicting (and affirming!) crimes that only existed in someone’s imagination.

    Thanks for ruining Christmas for me, Rebel!

  3. Base Says:

    It is more of a crime, the amount of money they used to entrap these men.

  4. WARTHOG Says:

    @VAGO 1%er,

    State vs. Lively is one of the few times outrageous government conduct was successfully used as a defense. And, then, it was used to overturn a conviction.



  5. Mag Says:

    @RVN69 – They do, it’s what buses are for. Tyrants forget that someone sufficiently annoyed can grab that big level steering wheel and drive it through their own neighborhood, right over the flower bushes and through the pretty picture windows.

  6. T Hell Says:

    But judge this is ridiculous, I thought this was an audition for a movie script, I new it wasn’t a real crime….

  7. RVN69 Says:

    @Mag, The big problem is the wheels on the bus go round and round right over us!

    Si vis pacem, parabellum.

  8. Mag Says:

    @Rebel – Wonderful how such governance can be extrapolated to other arenas.

    Even more amusing…

    Simply having a conversation is a crime, under Federal law, if two Federal agents talk you into calling in sick from work for some other reason, you have committed conspiracy to violate 18 U.S. Code § 1346. You are now a Federal felon. Your family is bankrupted and destroyed even if you actually show up for work.

    Wait until they apply 18 U.S. Code § 1001 to someone who posts something on the White House Facebook page that they don’t like. In fact, talking about it with a Federal agent is enough – there’s your conspiracy.

    The wheels on the bus go round and round…

  9. Mag Says:

    @Glenn S., Prospect – “Calling something the law doesn’t make it right, and calling something against the law doesn’t make it wrong.”

    We have a similar saying: not everything that has value can be measured, and not everything that can be measured has value.

    That’s why 4GW works. :)

  10. Rebel Says:

    Dear los,

    Standing outside a gun with a home is a crime, under federal law, if two ATF agents testify that you and they “conspired” to rob that home before they gave you a gun, body armor and a mask, drove you to the home, then baited you into actually getting out of the car. Under the law, you have a “predisposition” to commit the crime if you get out of the car.


  11. Glenn S., Prospect Says:

    Ol’ Lady Rider said: “No drugs. No stash house. No seller. No buyer. No sale. NO CRIME. Or maybe I missed the law that states it is a crime to take money for playing dress-up? Or the part of the law that states a person is guilty of a criminal act just because they believed they were committing said act though no actual act took place?”

    I imagine they’re charging them with conspiracy. The legal definition of a conspiracy is an AGREEMENT by two or more parties to commit a crime. The agreement in and of itself is the crime, whether or not the crime was committed, whether or not the crime was ever going to be committed, even whether or not all but one of those agreeing were undercover agents of government who were lying about the potential crime. And even whether or not the original conspirator made up the crime in an effort to entice others to agree to committing it for no reason other to have grounds for an arrest and conviction. The term: “unindicted co-conspirator” is generally used to describe a cop or a rat who engages in such shit. “Conspiracy” is sort of a technical violation of the law, likely originally meant (or originally promoted) to arrest people out attempting to hire hit men, so that the killing need not actually occur before an arrest was made. And, like many other laws, unprincipled and overzealous law enforcement agents have found a way to twist the actual intent to find an excuse to lock people up that they deem undesirable.

    Calling something the law doesn’t make it right, and calling something against the law doesn’t make it wrong.

  12. los Says:

    If there was no crime, how can someone be an accessory to it? Is the act of standing outside a home with a gun a crime in the state in question? I guess that falls into conspiracy or something..crazy crap like this enrages me. There are enough people committing crimes that they could spend their time going after…but, I guess those are too hard to catch and prosecute. Much easier to write a script so you don’t have to do any actual work. That does not make the men dangerous to society..just poor and desperate. I am pretty sure I could get a homeless guy to stand watch outside a house for a grand while I pretend to do something inside. Heck, probably wouldn’t cost a grand..that does not mean I got a dangerous criminal off the streets and made it safe for citizens.

  13. Ol'LadyRider Says:

    There was a time long, long ago in which I respected judges. They have immunity and, right or wrong, smart or stupid, can do whatever they want within the extremely complex-yet-often-vague-and-open-to-interpretation law. I saw many do the right thing. But that was a lifetime ago.

    No drugs. No stash house. No seller. No buyer. No sale. NO CRIME. Or maybe I missed the law that states it is a crime to take money for playing dress-up? Or the part of the law that states a person is guilty of a criminal act just because they believed they were committing said act though no actual act took place?

    The judges can do whatever they want. They are not locked into precedent nor are they compelled to stay silent about the Emperor’s royal nakedness. If fabricating a crime, to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars of taxpayer money, doesn’t reach the standard for egregious government behavior, then what on Earth will?

  14. Glenn S., Prospect Says:

    I am no longer surprised at anything that the government does. And the biggest myth of all is the platitude that the judicial branch is independent. Most judges were merely promoted after holding positions in the executive branch, usually prosecutor. As a result, all of the constitutional protections of individuals against government have been watered down to options, while the citizenry has been either dumbed down, distracted, of rendered so fearful that they do not give a shit. An accusation equals guilt, an investigation is a scam to entice otherwise innocent people into agreeing to break the law (and a conspiracy is defined as an agreement by two or more parties to break a law), nevermind that the law enforcers are orchestrating the law breaking. The distinction between legal and illegal has lost all meaning.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    The story above reminds me of an article I read shortly after 9/11.

    This is an excerpt of said article:

    “And the fittest were the Taliban, who had a hell of a six-year run. They did as they pleased and justified their actions purely on the grounds that it was “Allan H’s will”. Whoever he is. The nation was their bitch. Taliban members didn’t go to the office and drive around in candy-assed SUVs. They drove tanks, over whatever and whoever they wanted. It wasn’t just a job. It was a career and a passion. Like being a Klingon Warrior, but without those pesky Federation do-gooders to get in your way.

    Under the Taliban, there were no lawyers. No PR weasels. No annoying ads. No crime. No Backstreet Boys. Women knew their place. For that matter, so did the men. You step out of line and punishment was instantaneous. Offenders were whipped, beaten and lynched on the spot. Bodies hung from every lamppost in Kabul. Just the thought of that happening in Washington brings tears of joy to my eyes.”


  16. Mad Matt Says:

    So, the g-men claim that the actions committed by the financially poor men in furtherance of drug/weapons crimes is outrageous behavior and must be punished. But the crime was an act of “guerilla street theatre” thought up by the likes of the Asshole Tonguing Fuckers which never would have existed, without their not outrageous behavior.
    The fact that our government is committing crimes to entice men who are otherwise not committing any crime should strike anyone as outrageous. The fact of the matter is, the more people busted, the more people in court, the more lawyers needed, the more people in prison, the more prison guards needed, the more prisons needed…it’s a vicious fucking circle. The judges, by allowing this type of judgement are just providing themselves and the system with more opportunities for employment.
    These corrupt motherfuckers don’t care about your life, or mine. They care about feeding the law-“enforcement”-judicial-prison complex. A perfect example of this is the judge out east who got caught selling kids down the river to a “training school.” He just broke from the unseen by taking cash payments per-child in the open. We all have a $ price on our heads, and if we’re not paying those taxes, we gotta pay somehow. Prison, “live ammo” training for pigs, or at the very least, publicity about how we’re destroying civilization and they need more $.


  17. John Deaux Says:

    Is this justice at work ?
    We know the government broke the law, we know the government enticed the defendants to do the virtual crime, we know the virtual crime wouldn’t have happened if the government hadn’t set it in motion. We know no real crime happened, we know all of this but we’re not dismissing the case or charging the government in this conspiracy.
    Maybe the rioters are right, maybe we need to “burn it down” to fix it.
    I truly get more ashamed of our so called system of justice everyday.

  18. BMW Says:

    I finally understand “virtual reality”, I think. I used to think that I understood the law. But I will be darned if I understand the legal theory of “Virtual Illegality “! So today, in the fascist 9th Circuit, an individual can be charged with committing a “Virtual Crime “.


    This decision invalidates almost everything our forefathers fought and died for, in the revolution, and again in every war since. The appeals courts have been stacked with corporate stooges (both D and R) who don’t even bother to read the law, much less understand it. They just rule as they are instructed, and don’t care about the Constitution, or those little things collectively called the Bill of Rights.

    What does a right to a fair trial mean when a person can be charged with an imaginary crime?


  19. Paladin Says:

    Based on the Government’s claim of Judge Wright’s prejudice, it would be interesting to know if this case was or is going to be sent back to Judge Wright. It seems Judge Wright’s pretrial prejudicial remarks concerning the upcoming Mongol case didn’t meet the bar for case reassignment.

    Because Judge Wright is at odds with the Government on this particular case, I wonder if this case will be magically assigned to some other judge?

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  20. Sieg Says:

    PhuqueHead pretty much said it all.

    No surprise, is it? We all know the Occupation Regime isn’t bound by any concept of law, only by how many guns they can muster, and how much terror they can spread.

    One day soon, the balance of terror will tip away from them.


  21. Road Whore Says:

    Wull…they done it this way already and it wuz okay…so they sez we has to keep on doin’ it this way again already. And if it’s wrong but they done sez it was right to begin with then we ain’t got no choice but to continue to agree that the wrong is right. Next case, puh-leeze.

    Ride Free, while you still can.

  22. CN Says:

    If anyone who has read this post but did not view the video exists, please endure the video, it speaks volumes and is atypical of how the business of alleged judicial conduct can be seen in much the same way as the little boy in the fable saw that the King’s New Clothes were in point of fact, none at all. Over the years I wasted many a perfectly good afternoon in the gallery listening to arbitrary bullshit such as this most obviously is. This isn’t see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil, it’s mainly evil to the third power because, as was stated in a prior comment in this thread rather well, the precedent once established must be continued regardless of how awful it may be.

    This deception of entrapment used by the ATF whereby they get otherwise innocent people to stand guard duty for an imaginary stash house robbery for a thousand dollars per guard, is still alive and well in their bag of tricks on those of us too stupid, desperate or impoverished to know better. It’s a good example of doing the dirty work, albeit the minor parts, that any real criminal enterprise should have a long waiting line of their own to do. It’s the dream job of all those which could be had were one a part of such an enterprise, it’s “cake”. Therefore I don’t argue that the ATF and the 3 Bench Monkeys were corrupt although they obviously were. What I walk away from this with is the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. The ATF has been stooping really low lately, even by their standards and now mostly is about constructing crimes rather than preventing actual ones. We should have kept NASA as she was and let the ATF make nice with the goat fuckers.

  23. Ol'Goat Says:

    Just had to repost these previously well written words. Couldn’t agree more:
    “These 3 clowns are so far removed from real society they have no idea what they are adjudicating. And they are so pampered and powdered by the government and influential rich they couldn’t give a flipping fuck.”

  24. UnaffiliatedObserver Says:

    Everyone catch this in the video?

    12:00 +-

    “I think the government is wasting resources. I think the government is encouraging people to commit crimes they would not otherwise commit. And you are protecting the stash houses…”

    The judges, like prosecutors, are not stupid. They know what they are doing, and they do see the practical effect of the governments actions here: the real stash houses are less likely to be robbed.

    Can’t have the wrong people interfering with business, now can we?

  25. RVN69 Says:

    @VAGO 1%er, there used to be a standard, the best case I am aware of that is so similar to this was the John Deloraen case. Now that standard has either been totally erased, or is something wispy and nebulouse, like drifting smoke in a crowded bar, you can never quite get your hands around it.
    The scariest thing about this decision is it comes from what is considered the most “Liberal” Federal Court of Appeals. If that is a liberal ruling, what the hell must a conservative one look like.

    @Rebel you certainly cut to the bone on this one, because they made a fucked up incorrect decision concerning entrapment before, they are bound by “precedent” to continue to make the same mistake rather than admit our initial ruling was wrong.

    How fucked up we have become, the Bill of Rights no longer exists, having been improved away by our government until it is just a distant memory of a long ago time.


  26. Phuquehed Says:

    Rope. Judges. Tree.

  27. VAGO 1%er Says:

    Well fuck me running! Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! These 3 clowns are so far removed from real society they have no idea what they are adjudicating. And they are so pampered and powdered by the government and influential rich they couldn’t give a flipping fuck.

    I am curious, what DOES meet the extremely high standard necessary to dismiss an indictment for outrageous government conduct? Has there ever been a case? Anybody have an example?

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