06-09-2002, 10:18 PM #1Junior Member
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- May 2002
Steroids and Entrapment Methods of law Enforcement
Here is an interesting case regarding entrapment and steroid trafficking. It also gives you an idea of how law enforcement works, if you read into the case. The more you know about methods of law enforcement the safer you will be. As a general rule do not sell to someone who is someone elses friend, and be very careful about who you speak to about your habit.
Your speech if marked by appropriate people could give enough probable cause for a warrant, so be careful always, my friends, steroid busts are beoming all too common. As always let me know if I can help any of you out
*1 Mark Singerman appeals from his convictions on two counts of aggravated trafficking. He was found guilty by a jury of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas for selling anabolic steroids to an agent of the police. He was sentenced accordingly.
The evidence presented at trial established the following factual scenario. Additional evidence will be mentioned in connection with the discussion of the assignments of error.
Singerman was a member of Moore's Nautilus and was a friend of Doug Criffield, an employee of Moore's. Singerman and Criffield had discussed steroids at the gym, but they had not specifically discussed their own experiences with the drugs. Around August of 1993, Criffield was arrested for aggravated trafficking after having been found with anabolic steroids in his possession. Criffield subsequently made a deal with the prosecutor's office that, in return for a lesser sentence, he would assist law enforcement officials in locating dealers of steroids.
Criffield testified that Singerman called him after his arrest and raised the issue of steroids. According to Criffield, Singerman commented that he was impressed that Criffield had not revealed his source of the drugs, and inquired whether Criffield would like to purchase any steroids. Singerman disputed this testimony and stated that Criffield made the first call, raised the topic of steroids, and asked Singerman if he had any steroids to sell.
On October 14, 1993, around 6 p.m., Criffield called Singerman, in a taped conversation from the police station, and informed Singerman that he had a friend who wanted to buy steroids . Criffield's "friend" was Detective Loofboro of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. Later that evening at Singerman's house, Criffield told Singerman that his friend only wanted to spend about $225, and Singerman responded that he would sell eleven vials of steroids for that sum. Singerman told Criffield that they could consummate the deal at Red Lobster around 8 p.m. that evening since Singerman would be eating dinner there. Loofboro drove Criffield to the Red Lobster restaurant at 8 p.m. and gave Criffield $240 to be used to purchase steroids from Singerman. Criffield walked over to Singerman's car, sat inside, and exchanged $220 for eleven vials of anabolic steroids.
Criffield testified that Singerman then called him at his house, and that he returned the call from the police station so that their conversation could be taped. (Singerman denied initiating this communication, testifying that Criffield had first contacted him.) During this conversation, which occurred on November 4, 1993, at 5:15 p.m., Criffield told Singerman that his friend now wanted to purchase 50 vials of steroids. Singerman indicated that he was not free to discuss the matter at the time since others were present, so Criffield went to his house to arrange the deal. When Criffield arrived at the house, Singerman was still not free to make arrangements. Criffield called Singerman again later, and Singerman told Criffield that he could only produce 40 vials, and that the price would be $800. They arranged to meet at the Cracker Barrel restaurant at 9 p.m. that night to make the exchange.
*2 When Loofboro and Criffield arrived at Cracker Barrel, Singerman was not there. Criffield called Singerman from Loofboro's car, and Singerman told him that he had been there but that he had left when he didn't see Criffield. Singerman then returned to Cracker Barrel and gave the 40 vials of steroids to Criffield, who took them back to Loofboro for inspection. Loofboro then gave Criffield the $800 to give to Singerman in return for the drugs. Loofboro and Criffield left the area, and Singerman was apprehended in the Cracker Barrel parking lot.
Following his arrest, Singerman elected to talk with detectives regarding his transactions in steroids. Detective Glazer testified that Singerman stated that he had purchased 100 vials of anabolic steroids, some of which he used and some of which he sold to Criffield and another individual unrelated to Criffield.
Singerman was charged with two counts of aggravated trafficking in anabolic steroids, one count representing the sale of an amount greater than the bulk amount but less than three times bulk, and the other an amount exceeding three times the bulk amount. Singerman pleaded not guilty and the charges were tried to a jury, which found Singerman guilty on both counts. Singerman was sentenced consecutively to one year of actual incarceration on the first count, and two to fifteen years on the second count, the first two years of which were to be actual incarceration. In addition, Singerman was fined $5,000.
Singerman assigns two errors for consideration on appeal.
I. APPELLANT'S CONVICTIONS MUST BE REVERSED BECAUSE HE PROVED, BY A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE, THAT HE WAS ENTRAPPED INTO COMMITTING THE OFFENSES, AND THUS THE CONVICTION IS AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE.
Singerman argues that he established that he was entrapped into selling steroids, and so reasonable minds could only find him not guilty.
The leading case regarding entrapment in Ohio is State v. Doran (1983), 5 Ohio St.3d 187. The court held that entrapment is an affirmative defense that the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. at 193. "The defense of entrapment is established where the criminal design originates with the officials of the government, and they implant in the mind of an innocent person the disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order to prosecute." Id. at paragraph one of the syllabus. "However, entrapment is not established when government officials merely afford opportunities or facilities for the commission of the offense and it is shown that the accused was predisposed to commit the offense." (Citation omitted.) Id. at 192.
The Doran court adopted a subjective test for entrapment that focuses on the predisposition of the defendant to commit the offense, rather than the inducements offered by law enforcement officials. The court outlined five nonexclusive factors that "would certainly be relevant" in determining the predisposition of the accused:
*3 (1) the accused's previous involvement in criminal activity of the nature charged,
(2) the accused's ready acquiescence to the inducements offered by the police,
(3) the accused's expert knowledge in the area of the criminal activity charged,
(4) the accused's ready access to contraband, and
(5) the accused's willingness to involve himself in criminal activity.
Id. at 192. We addressed Doran several years ago and noted that while the five factors represent "a useful analytical tool," the ultimate issue is whether the defendant proved by a preponderance of the evidence that he "lacked the predisposition to commit the offense with which he is charged." State v. Seebeck-Horstman (1990), 67 Ohio App.3d 443, 446. See, also, State v. Burkitt (1993), 89 Ohio App.3d 214, 220.
We shall address Singerman's predisposition to sell anabolic steroids in the context of the five Doran factors. First, Singerman's previous involvement in the sale of steroids was illustrated by Detective Glazer's testimony that Singerman confessed to having sold steroids to another individual besides Criffield. Second, as to his ready acquiescence, the evidence presented at trial indicated that Singerman readily agreed to sell steroids to Criffield, and consummated sales within hours of Criffield's requests to purchase. While Singerman testified that he had declined to sell steroids to Criffield on a couple of occasions because Criffield was acting too pushy, it is undisputed that he readily acquiesced to the two sales that actually occurred. Furthermore, the jury was required to judge the credibility of the witnesses and was free to discount Singerman's testimony, which conflicted with that of Criffield.
Third, Singerman demonstrated his expert knowledge in the area when he promptly quoted prices for certain quantities of steroids. Fourth, regarding ready access, Singerman was able to produce steroids for purchase within hours of Criffield's request. Fifth, Singerman exhibited his willingness to involve himself in criminal activity when, according to Criffield, he called Criffield and offered to sell him steroids. Even if Criffield's testimony on this point were not believed, Singerman displayed his willingness by twice selling steroids to Criffield and, according to Detective Glazer, by selling steroids to another individual. Furthermore, rather than abandon the second sale after arriving at Cracker Barrel, not finding Criffield, and returning home, Singerman elected to return to the restaurant and consummate the sale.
We also find persuasive two additional pieces of evidence that cannot be readily categorized into one of the Doran factors. Before one of the sales, Criffield requested that Singerman allow him to take the steroids and pay for them later. Singerman refused, saying that it was first come, first served, and that someone else might come along with cash and Singerman wouldn't have any steroids. Furthermore, Singerman apparently made a substantial profit on the sales to Criffield. These two pieces of evidence further indicate that Singerman was involved in the business of selling steroids.
*4 On the basis of the evidence presented at trial, the jury could have reasonably concluded that Singerman failed to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he lacked the predisposition to sell steroids. Therefore, the evidence supports the conclusion that Singerman failed to prove the defense of entrapment.
The first assignment of error is overruled.
II. THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED PREJUDICIAL ERROR WHEN IT REFUSED TO INSTRUCT THE JURY THAT ENTRAPMENT IS AN ABSOLUTE DEFENSE TO THE OFFENSES CHARGED, AND IF A DEFENDANT PROVES THAT HE WAS ENTRAPPED, HE MUST BE ACQUITTED EVEN THOUGH THE STATE HAS PROVED ALL THE ELEMENTS OF THE OFFENSE.
Singerman argues that the trial court erred in not specifically defining entrapment as an "absolute defense." Further, Singerman contends that the court incorrectly instructed the jury that it must find the defendant guilty if all the elements of the crime were proved, because the court did not thereafter qualify the instruction to take into account the defense of entrapment.
The failure to qualify occurred near the end of the instructions of the substantive law of the case. The trial court had already devoted a significant portion of its jury instructions to the entrapment defense. After explaining the elements of the offense of aggravated trafficking, the court told the jury that Singerman had claimed the defense of entrapment. The court reviewed the definition of entrapment, and noted that "the defendant must be found not guilty" if the jury found him to have been entrapped into committing the offense. The court told the jury that entrapment is an affirmative defense that the defendant had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence. Finally, the court stated that if the defendant failed to establish entrapment, then the state would still be required to prove all of the elements of the crime charged, in which case the jury must find the defendant guilty.
The trial court thoroughly and properly instructed the jury on the law applicable to the defense of entrapment. The trial court was not required to include a statement that entrapment is an "absolute defense," as requested by defense counsel, particularly given that the court had stated that if the defense was established, the defendant must be found not guilty.
Singerman alleges that the court's instruction that the jury must find the defendant guilty if the state proved its case was incorrect because the court did not qualify the instruction with mention of the entrapment defense at the conclusion of that instruction. Immediately prior to this instruction, the court had explained the entrapment defense in detail to the jury. As a transition to the instruction at issue, the court stated that "[i]f the defense fails to establish the defense of entrapment," then the state would still bear the burden of proving the elements of the crime charged. Although the court might have qualified these last instructions with mention of the entrapment defense, the court, having shortly before instructed the jury to find Singerman not guilty if he proved entrapment, was not required to reemphasize the entrapment defense after reviewing the state's burden. Finally, on the entire record, it is inconceivable to us that this jury did not understand that entrapment, if found, was a complete defense to the charges.
*5 The second assignment of error is overruled.
The judgment of the trial court will be affirmed.
FAIN and YOUNG, JJ., concur.
Ohio App. 2 Dist.,1995.
END OF DOCUMENT
06-10-2002, 12:39 PM #2
that's interesting. it gives me some ideas about some things...
06-11-2002, 04:28 AM #3Junior Member
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- May 2002
Im gonna bump myself, just because this is very good info, and should not be lost in the wayside
06-11-2002, 06:53 AM #4
lets keep this going.. If there is anything we need more of its info on how to deal with this side of the lifestyle.
06-11-2002, 07:02 AM #5
Please note that this is Ohio law and may not be the case in other states! It is however an excellent example of precedent used in making these determinations and is good advice for those who buy steroids as well. This is a great legal clarification of the definition of entrapment as it applies to anything at all - not just steroids ! Good post!
06-11-2002, 09:33 AM #6Junior Member
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- May 2002
Well, the point in this case was not really "the law" but the Court lists out the elements of entrapment, and that is fairly universal, maybe slight modifications from state to state, but nothing extreme. So, I wanted you guys to understand what entrapment is, and how you can invoke that as a defense.
Most importantly, you got a little look at how law enforcement did there bust, and so maybe you get some insight into how the police work. Every little bit helps in this game A lot of good people getting busted lately.
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