Law School Case Brief
State v. Blanco - 896 So. 2d 900 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2005)
Unlike subjective entrapment, which focuses on the issues of inducement and the defendant's predisposition, an objective analysis of entrapment on due process grounds focuses on the conduct of law enforcement. The type of conduct held to violate due process is that which so offends decency or a sense of justice that judicial power may not be exercised to obtain a conviction. When government conduct violates a defendant's due process rights, the remedy is dismissal.
Law enforcement received information that drugs were being sold at a bar without any detailed information. Undercover officers went to the bar to attempt to find the dealers. Upon arrival, one of the officers approached the bar and sat next to defendant Julio Blanco. A conversation ensued. The officer indicated that he liked to "party," and explained to defendant that he meant the use of cocaine. Defendant left the bar at some point and went to the restroom. Upon his return, he told the officer no one was selling cocaine, but he found someone selling "Tina" or crystal meth for $ 60. The officer gave money to defendant who later returned with the drugs. The officer bought defendant a beer and talked for awhile. The officer exchanged numbers with defendant and called him during the following days. Defendant was arrested two weeks later. Defendant was charged with drug offenses and at trial in Florida state court, he moved to dismiss the case on the grounds of entrapment. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, holding that the officer's acts denied defendant his due process rights, and it granted defendant's motion to dismiss the charges. The State appealed the judgment.
Did the trial court properly grant defendant's motion to dismiss on the basis of entrapment?
The judgment was reversed and remanded for reinstatement of the charges. The appellate court held that the officer's conduct was not so outrageous that dismissal was warranted. An objective analysis of entrapment on due process grounds focused on the conduct of law enforcement. The appellate court held that the trial court failed to limit its consideration to the conduct of the law enforcement officer. Rather, it focused its attention on the effect of the officer's conduct on defendant, and on defendant's apparent lack of predisposition to commit the offense.
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