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Two Rulings Toss Internet Stings


— September 22, 2005

Two courts in the last six weeks have overturned the convictions of people accused of using the Internet to solicit sex from minors because the victims were actually law enforcement agents — not true minors.

The decisions, one by a state court and the other by a federal court, have different practical implications, but taken together they expose a loophole that could hinder law enforcement efforts to nab sexual predators, say lawyers.

“You don’t want this sort of loophole,” noted Jean Paul Bradshaw of Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City, Mo., a former federal prosecutor in Missouri.

The loophole involves the language of the law that is used to prosecute the alleged offenders. While some states have laws that include an explicit provision saying that the victim can be a law enforcement agent posing as a minor, the federal law is silent on the subject.

Details here from The National Law Journal via Law.com.


Two courts in the last six weeks have overturned the convictions of people accused of using the Internet to solicit sex from minors because the victims were actually law enforcement agents — not true minors.

The decisions, one by a state court and the other by a federal court, have different practical implications, but taken together they expose a loophole that could hinder law enforcement efforts to nab sexual predators, say lawyers.

“You don’t want this sort of loophole,” noted Jean Paul Bradshaw of Lathrop & Gage in Kansas City, Mo., a former federal prosecutor in Missouri.

The loophole involves the language of the law that is used to prosecute the alleged offenders. While some states have laws that include an explicit provision saying that the victim can be a law enforcement agent posing as a minor, the federal law is silent on the subject.

Details here from The National Law Journal via Law.com.

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