Articles Tagged with solicitation

w33-zg-dnl4-rami-al-zayat-300x200The internet has not only opened up new avenues of communication, but has also created an entire category of crimes that require bespoke responses from the legislature. It is from that perspective that Chicago has come up with an internet solicitation legal framework which captures cyber sex crimes (720 ILCS 5/11-6.6 for enticement), among other things. On the other hand, the rules as they exist have left the door open for vigilantes and ingénues to entice otherwise ordinary citizens into compromising situations. The web sting has become an effective tool for police to target suspected pedophiles and other types of online offenders. More recently the phenomenon of revenge porn and unsolicited sexting has plagued legislatures across the globe. For the defense attorney, entrapment might be one of the critical issues that needs to be examined.

How the Law is Designed and Implemented

For a person to fall within the ambit of the law, they must knowingly engage in acts that amount to criminality, but the lines are blurred when undercover agents effectively encourage predisposed people to engage in illegal acts. At other times the law is the only way of being able to capture those sophisticated offenders who have a secretive network of contacts that are able to access some of the most offensive material that is currently available on the internet. Typically the offender is so unsympathetic that the public is unable to pay any attention to the civil liberties issues that may have been raised during his or her arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing. Ignorance and apathy remain key characteristics of the type of offender that engages with the internet in this way (see 720 ILCS 5/11-6 for indecent solicitation and online sexual solicitation rules). Some may consider it relatively harmless to surf certain pages while others are simply unaware that they are breaking specific laws in Chicago.

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This summer, police officers across the United States have been cracking down on prostitution-related offenses. Sting operations aimed at stopping the solicitation of prostitution have been executed across the country, including several in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports that a recent sting operation in Arlington Heights resulted in 14 men being charged with the crime of soliciting a sexual act. The Arlington Heights police carried out the sting by placing ads on the internet designating a specific time and hotel for interested people to meet. When individuals arrived at the designated hotel room a female undercover agent greeted them. Additional officers were waiting to arrest offenders who offered money to the undercover agent for sexual acts and to charge them with misdemeanor solicitation of a sexual act.

What Constitutes Entrapment?

Typically, entrapment occurs when a police officer induces someone to commit a crime that he or she would otherwise not have been disposed to commit. Entrapment can be used as a defense to a criminal charge, and is often alleged by defendants who have been charged with solicitation of a sexual act. In Illinois, the legal test for entrapment is contained in 720 ILCS 5/7-12 and prohibits a criminal defendant from being convicted if their illegal conduct was either incited or induced by a public agent in order to obtain evidence for the prosecution of that person. However, entrapment can not be used as a defense if the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime and the public agent simply provided them with the opportunity to commit it.