Law School Case Brief
Robichaud v. State - 658 So. 2d 166 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995)
The test for entrapment is as follows: (1) whether an agent of the government induced the accused to commit the offense charged; (2) whether the accused was predisposed to commit the offense charged; that is, whether the accused was awaiting any propitious opportunity or was ready and willing, without persuasion, to commit the offense; and, (3) whether the entrapment evaluation should be submitted to a jury. Defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the government agent induced him to commit the offenses.
Defendant appellant Robichaud was convicted of his drug offenses following three cocaine buys that he arranged. Detective Debord had received an anonymous telephone tip from a female who lived in the trailer park where appellant lived. She complained generally of drug activity in the park, but did not identify appellant. Debord contacted a confidential informant (CI) he knew in the park. The CI was an older man who had supplied reliable information in the past. The detectives rated him as a "10" in terms of reliability. The CI was not monitored or supervised in any way during his interactions with appellant. Robichaud was not identified or targeted by either the CI or law enforcement until the CI met Robichaud at a Super Bowl party and asked appellant if he could get him some cocaine. Robichaud said no, and the CI explained that he needed the drugs to alleviate pain he suffered from cancer and chemotherapy treatments. Robichaud was living in Anthony Sansony's trailer at that point. The CI eventually rented Robichaud a place to live, but when Robichaud suffered a work-related injury and fell behind in his rent, CI again threatened physical harm if Robichaud did not arrange a cocaine purchase. CI also offered Robichaud work after he lost his job in exchange for procuring cocaine. Appellant eventually complied, then was charged with various cocaine-related crimes. Entrapment was submitted to a jury, but Robichaud was convicted cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.
Were the entrapment and resulting conviction valid?
The judgment convicting appellant of cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine was reversed. The Court held that the lower court erred in submitting the issue of entrapment to the jury because Robichaud established by a preponderance of the evidence that astate's officers induced him into purchasing cocaine and that he was not predisposed to commit the crimes. The Court found that the evidence corroborated Robichaud's story of threats and coercion. The Court also noted that the tip did not indicate Robichaud's involvement in drug activity and he had no prior drug convictions. Thus, Robichaud did not appear predisposed to committing the crimes. Under the test for entrapment, codified in Fla. Stat. ch. 777.201, Robichaud proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he was induced and not predisposed, which was not rebutted by the State.
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