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Proof Requiring and Sentencing in Entrapment Cases

United States v. Diaz-Maldonado, 727 F.3d 130 (2013)


The case was argued for 5 days with the jury reaching a decision on 30 March 2012. Christian Diaz-Maldonado was a Commonwealth correctional officer and the target of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during investigations of corrupt law enforcement officers who engaged in illegal activities. Diaz-Maldonado was approached by an FBI confidential informant called “Cotto” who presented Diaz-Maldonado with an opportunity to help him in providing security during a drug transaction in exchange for money (JUSTIA US Supreme Court Center, 2017). After several meetings and phone conversations, Diaz-Maldonado accepted to assist in the transaction not knowing that the FBI controlled it (FindLaw, 2017a). The transaction occurred on 10 September 2017 at an apartment in Isla Verde where the police arrested and charged Diaz-Maldonado and fifteen others.

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The FBI arrested Diaz-Maldonado after a staged drug transaction. The government prevented Diaz-Maldonado from raising an entrapment defense in his opening statement. The jury sentenced Diaz-Maldonado and the court decided that the entrapment defense was inadmissible.


The jury sentenced Diaz-Maldonado to a 123-month jail term. On appeal, his conviction was upheld by the court, and the defense of entrapment was declined.


The judges decided that Diaz-Maldonado did not provide adequate evidence to persuade the jury to consider if there was an overreach by the government in his arrest. According to FindLaw (2017a), there was no hard evidence provided by Diaz-Maldonado to establish the use of entrapment as a defense.

Dissenting Opinion

The government created and presented the opportunity to commit the crime to Diaz-Maldonado. The approach by the confidential informant was in a recreational manner that was choreographed to manipulate Diaz-Maldonado (JUSTIA US Supreme Court Center, 2017). The presentation of the crime was repetitive as the confidential informant made several approaches, which were convincing of hefty returns and raised more interest in seizing the opportunity.

Hampton v. the United States – 425 U.S. 484 (1976) No. 74-5822


The court sentenced Hampton for an offense of selling heroin supplied by a government informant to government agents. The sentence was for two sales by the petitioner to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents on 25 and 26 February 1974 at St. Louis (Gardner & Anderson, 2014). The petitioner appealed to be acquitted of his crime on an entrapment defense in consideration that the government informant supplied the drug irrespective of whether he was predisposed to commit the crime or not. The government denied him the due process by supplying him with the contraband.


The government supplied the illegal contraband during the investigation. If proven that the defendant’s narcotic sale was from the government, then the defendant would have been acquitted as the law forbids it (JUSTIA US Supreme Court, 2017). In such a defense, the predisposition of the defendant does not matter if the involvement of the government reaches such a point.

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The court charged the petitioner with two counts of heroin distribution and sentenced to five years imprisonment. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction upon appeal.


The court ordered that the defendant acknowledged the predisposition to commit the crime as his actions were in concert with the government informant and agents. According to JUSTIA US Supreme Court (2017), the court stated that the claim of violation of the due process is insufficient and the entrapment defense is unavailable to the petitioner’s case.

Dissenting Opinions

For the Drug Enforcement Administration to supply an illegal substance such as heroin is discerning. Thus, the criminal activity, in this case, emanated from an elaborate plan by the government from the beginning to the end.

Jacobson v. the United States, 503 U.S. 540 (1992) No. 90-1124


The case argued on 6 November 1991 and decided on 6 April 1992 (FindLaw, 2017b). Jacobson ordered magazines containing images of undressed adolescent and pre-adolescent males during a time that it was yet to be illegal. Jacobson received mails from fabricated fake businesses and letters during the investigation to see if Jacobson would commit the offense of purchasing magazines pertaining to child pornography. Jacobson purchased a magazine after twenty-six months of invites and being in the government mailing list (FindLaw, 2017b). The court convicted Jacobson, and during his jury trial, he pleaded entrapment, as police arrested him because of an organized delivery of the magazine copies arguing that his interest grew over time because of the constant emails.


To determine whether Jacobson was predisposed to commit the crime before the government solicited him with the mailings or the government provided the proof beyond a reasonable doubt.


The defendant was not found with any other illegal material and the time it took the government to purchase the material illustrates that the defendant would not have made the purchase if not for the continuous mailings. The Supreme Court reversed the jury’s conviction.


The government did not provide the proof beyond reasonable doubt for the reliance on the legal purchase of pornographic material does not prove disposition.

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Dissenting Opinions

The period that determined the defendant’s predisposition changed from the time of offer to commit a crime to the government’s first encounter with the defendant in disregard of the decision considered by the jury during sentencing. The law, in this case, does not require a specific intent to prove the predisposition as the court only needed to regard that the defendant knew that he was committing a crime. The argument that the purchase of a material considered legal at that at the time of purchase makes the evidence admissible. The court only needed to regard that the defendant knew that he was committing a crime.


FindLaw. (2017a). United States v. Díaz-Maldonado. Web.

FindLaw. (2017b). Jacobson v. United States. Web.

Gaines, L., & Kremling, J. (2013). Drugs, crime, and justice: Contemporary perspectives. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

JUSTIA US Supreme Court. (2017). Hampton v. United States 425 U.S. 484 (1976). Web.

JUSTIA US Supreme Court Center. (2017). United States v. Diaz, No. 15-1307. Web.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. (2017). Federal laws & penalties. Web.

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