The Deputy took on a persona of a thirteen year old female by the name of “Ashley Anne”. Many of the conversations that took place between Mr. Bullock and “Ashley” were of a sexual nature. During conversations between Mr. Bullock and “Ashley”, he discussed how he would like to engage in certain acts (sexual) with her and her friends (girls of younger age) and how he would like to video those acts. He informed “Ashley” that the conversations about meeting with her and her friends should not be discussed because it was not legal for them to meet.
Eventually a meeting was scheduled for a time and a place to meet and specific instructions were given to “Ashley” on how the meeting should take place. “Ashley” was told that upon her arrival to the specified location, she should meet Mr. Bullock in a specific area of that location. On October 18, 2002, Mr. Bullock and the decoy “Ashley” were present at the specified location, along with computer and video equipment in his vehicle, which ultimately leads to Page 2 Mr. Bullock being arrested. At the time of the arrest, Mr.
Bullock did not deny having conversations with “Ashley” but explained that if she would arrive, he just wanted her to be counseled by the authorities on the dangers of meeting strangers on the internet. Mr. Bullock argues that his case is a case of entrapment and that he took no “substantial steps” towards committing the crimes he has been charged and convicted of. History: David R. Bullock of Bowling Green, Missouri was charged and later convicted of attempted statutory rape and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor [the defendant was found guilty by] Jasper County Court in December of 2003.
Mr. Bullock requested an appeal on the basis of entrapment and sufficiency of evidence. The appeal was granted and [The court determined] that [the defendant] in fact took substantial steps toward committing the crimes he was convicted of; and the theory of entrapment was extinquished because Mr. Brooks did not admit to committing the crimes and it was not proven that the commission of these acts were not of forethought [defendant being ready and willing to commit these acts]. The Appeal Court affirmed.
Issue:Should people be convicted of crimes that are initially staged to seek out such individuals and are there distinguishable characteristics of acts that can be considered as “substantial steps” when it comes to gaining a conviction on these grounds? Mr. Brooks argued that if it wasn’t for the Deputy (“Ashley”) engaging him in such conversations, he would have not carried out those acts. He stated that he was only expressing his fantasies (which he was not charged or convicted of) and would not have considered acting upon them without the inducement of the “Ashley”.
Secondly, he stated that conversations regarding future plans, solicitation or arriving at the Page 3 planned location does not constitute a “substantial step” in committing the offenses that he wasconvicted of. The court is left to decide whether the Defendant was predisposed and not induced to commit these crimes and if the acts that he carried out would be sufficient enough to be considered true preparation for the commission of said crimes. Decision:Yes. The appellant court affirmed the judgment of the lower court and upheld the defendant’s conviction.
Rationale:The court reasons that the defense of entrapment is only available to a defendant if there is evidence both of an unlawful inducement by police to commit an unlawful act and the absence of a predisposition to engage in such conduct (the defendant was not "ready and willing") to commit an unlawful act. Also, the defense of entrapment is an affirmative defense by which the defendant must admit having engaged in the proscribed conduct to be entitled to an entrapment instruction, which the defendant did not. Concerning the sufficiency of evidence “substantial steps”, the court found the analysis in State v.
Young, 139 S. W. 3d 194 (Mo. App. W. D. 2004), to be accurate and similar to the case at hand. In this case, the defendant engaged in e-mails and instant messaging of a sexual nature with a sheriff posing as a 14-year-old girl. Id. at 195. The defendant made plans to meet the victim at a bowling alley at a specific day and time and told the victim that he would be bringing condoms, alcoholic beverages, and lubricant. Id. After the defendant arrived at the meeting place and was found with condoms, four wine coolers and lubricant, he was arrest.
These acts were considered to be a substantial step Page 4 in the commission of the crime. Likewise, Mr. Bullock had sexual conversations with “Ashley”, requested to engage in sexual acts with her and friends (which were to be filmed), agreed to meet, gave instructions to “Ashley” on how to meet, arrived at meeting place with video/computer equipment and exited his vehicle and followed “Ashley”. The court assessed that these acts were deemed as criminal and are clearly crimes of attempted statutory rape and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
Notes:I agree with the rationale and the decision of the court. Their citing of the State v. Johnson, 728 S. W. 2d 675 (Mo. App. S. D. 1987) which states that a defendant is not entitled to entrapment instruction when the defendant charged with selling narcotics denies committing the crime is identical to the circumstances surrounding Mr. Bullock’s appeal. One cannot claim entrapment when one claims no wrong doing to be trapped. Also, another great citation that made the decision of the appeal court clear was State v. Young, 139 S. W. 3d 194 (Mo. App.
W. D. 2004). There were many aspects of the Young case that were similar to the Bullock case such as: sexual conversations with an underage female (law enforcement), future meeting plans, and incriminating items brought to the meeting. In reviewing the case it was apparent to me that there were several substantial steps that this defendant took and was acted upon with forethought to accomplish his planned crimes. Page 5 WORKS CITED Schmalleger, Hall & Dolatowski, Criminal Law Today, Columbia College Edition, Custom Publishing, New York, 2010.