United States v. Russell
411 U.S. 423 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Russell, 411 U.S. 423 (1973)

United States v. Russell

No. 71-1585

Argued February 27, 1973

Decided April 24, 1973

411 U.S. 423

Syllabus

An undercover narcotics agent investigating respondent and his confederates for illicitly manufacturing a drug, offered them an essential ingredient which was difficult to obtain, though legally available. After the agent had observed the process and contributed the ingredient in return for a share of the finished product, respondent was found guilty by a jury which had been given the standard entrapment instruction. The Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that there had been "an intolerable degree of governmental participation in the criminal enterprise."

Held: The entrapment defense, which, as explicated in Sorrells v. United States,287 U. S. 435, and Sherman v. United States,356 U. S. 369, prohibits law enforcement officers from instigating criminal acts by otherwise innocent persons in order to lure them to commit crimes and punish them, did not bar the conviction of respondent in view of the evidence of respondent's involvement in making the drug before and after the agent's visits, and respondent's concession "that he may have harbored a predisposition to commit the charged offenses." Nor was the agent's infiltration of the drug-making operation of such a nature as to violate fundamental principles of due process. Pp. 411 U. S. 428-436.

459 F.2d 671, reversed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, BLACKMUN, and POWELL, JJ., joined. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, J., joined, post, p. 411 U. S. 436. STEWART, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 411 U. S. 439.

Page 411 U. S. 424

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