Friday, April 23, 2010

Court Finds Inadvertent Out-of-jurisdiction Arrest Reasonable; Declines to Address Sentencing Entrapment and Manipulation Doctrines

In U.S. v. Sed, --- F.3d ----, 2010 WL 1292152 (Apr. 6, 2010), defendant, convicted of conspiracy to distribute and PWID, challenged (1) the validity of his arrest in Ohio by Pennsylvania state police and (2) the denial of a sentencing reduction based on sentencing entrapment and/or manipulation.

First addressing Sed’s arrest, the Circuit held it reasonable under Fourth Amendment despite the fact that Pennsylvania state police violated Ohio law by seizing him outside of their jurisdiction. The Court first rejected the notion that any violation of state law constituted an ipso facto violation of the Fourth Amendment, citing Virginia v. Moore, 553 U.S. 164 (2008). Next, the Court found the arrest reasonable under the totality analysis, based on the fact that defendant had committed a serious drug crime in Pennsylvania, was acting in furtherance of conspiracy to distribute drugs in Pennsylvania at time he was seized, was responsible for a last-minute change of plans such that the second controlled buy occurred close to the state line, and that the police intended to arrest Sed in Pennsylvania and believed that they had done so at the time.

Next the Court addressed Sed’s challenges to his sentence, claiming the police entrapped him into selling drugs in amounts beyond what he what he was predisposed to sell (sentencing entrapment) and that they unfairly strung out their investigation solely to increase the quantity of drugs he sold (sentencing factor manipulation). The Court noted a Circuit split, but declined to address the validity of the doctrines in this case. Instead, it found that Sed could not establish the requisite factual predicates for either, given the District Court found that Sed had perjured himself when he testified regarding his lack of predisposition to sell cocaine and also because the police were not required to arrest Sed after the first controlled purchase.

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