The Court Reversed the Defendant’S Conviction for Conspiracy where the Government Failed to overcome the Defendant’S Defense of Entrapment.

Seventh Circuit Criminal Case Summaries: Evidence - Entrapment

United States v. Barta, No. 13-3208. Barta has appealed his conviction for conspiracy to commit bribery. He was charged and convicted based on an undercover government sting operation that evolved into an agreement among Barta and his co-defendants to bribe a fictional county official in California to obtain a government contract. The Court of Appeals reversed and ordered Barta’s immediate release because he was entrapped as a matter of law. The Court held that entrapment is a defense to criminal liability when the defendant was not predisposed to commit the charged crime before the intervention of the government’s agents and the government’s conduct induced him to commit it. There are two elements to the defense of entrapment: the defendant’s lack of predisposition and the government’s inducement. In this case, the government conceded Barta was not predisposed to commit the charged crime. The Court held the government failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no government inducement. In the course of its undercover operation the government employed “repeated attempts at persuasion,” “fraudulent representations,” “promises of reward beyond that inherent in the customary execution of the crime,” and “pleas based on need, sympathy, or friendship.” The cumulative effect of these tactics directed at Barta amounted to inducement.