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Attempted Enticement of a Minor-Inducement vs. Enticement

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 17, 2024//

Attempted Enticement of a Minor-Inducement vs. Enticement

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 17, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Gerald Sewell

Case No.: 23-2844

Officials: Rovner, Hamilton, and Scudder, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Attempted Enticement of a Minor-Inducement vs. Enticement

Gerald Sewell responded to a post on Craigslist, seeking a sexual encounter. The post was made by an undercover FBI agent posing as a 15-year-old girl. The conversation between Sewell and the agent quickly turned sexual, with plans to meet later the same day. Sewell drove from Missouri to Illinois to meet the supposed minor, only to be arrested upon arrival.

Sewell was indicted for attempted enticement of a minor and for traveling across state lines with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. He pleaded not guilty and requested a jury instruction on entrapment. The district court denied this request, finding no evidence of persistent persuasion by the undercover agent or reluctance by Sewell. The court concluded that the government had used the sting operation to solicit the crime without inducing Sewell. Sewell was convicted on both counts and sentenced to concurrent ten-year sentences.

Sewell appealed the district court’s denial of an entrapment instruction. The Seventh Circuit found no evidence of inducement, only solicitation of the crime, which is insufficient to put the entrapment defense before the jury. The court noted that it was Sewell who encouraged the supposed minor to meet for a sexual rendezvous, and he set aside any misgivings he may have had to drive across state lines to meet her. The court concluded that the government had furnished Sewell the ordinary opportunity to commit the charged crime, and he eagerly took it. The court affirmed the district court’s decision, denying Sewell’s requested entrapment instruction.

Affirmed.

Decided 06/10/24

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