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Majority finds man entrapped to patronize prostitute

May 23, 2014

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a misdemeanor conviction for patronizing a prostitute, with two judges ruling the state was unable to rebut the man’s entrapment defense by showing he had a history of trying to buy sex.

Kenneth Griesemer was convicted of Class A misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute based on his interaction with an undercover detective posing as a prostitute on Washington Street in Indianapolis. He saw her, circled back in his car and asked the detective if she needed a ride. Detective Tabatha McLemore declined, saying she was trying to make money. She asked how much money he had and then told him what she would perform for $20. She said he could pick her up down the street, where he was arrested by police. During this interaction, Griesemer simply nodded in response to McLemore’s questions.

Griesemer argued in Kenneth Griesemer v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1308-CR-382, that his conviction should be reversed because he was entrapped. The judges found he established police inducement, so the burden of proof shifted to the state to demonstrate that the conduct was not the result of police efforts or that Griesemer had a predisposition to commit the crime.

The state argued Shelton v. State, 679 N.E.2d 499, 502 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997), supports that police merely afforded Griesemer an opportunity to commit a crime, so the state may not have induced his criminal behavior. In Shelton, two brothers were charged with road hunting for stopping their vehicle on the side of the road and shooting at a deer decoy set up by police.

“We cannot, however, hold that the facts herein are analogous to those in Shelton. Detective McLemore was not merely standing on the side of the road dressed like a prostitute. She was the first to mention money, a sex act, and the possibility of exchanging the two. For Shelton to be analogous, the deer decoy would have needed a sign or recording announcing to passers-by that they were welcome to shoot at the deer for twenty dollars,” Judge Melissa May wrote. “As the deer decoy contained no such explicit invitation to commit criminal behavior, we decline the State’s invitation to follow Shelton. Detective McLemore’s question and statements were sufficient to induce Griesemer to commit patronizing a prostitute.”

The state did not present any evidence to demonstrate Griesemer was predisposed to patronizing a prostitute, so it did not rebut his defense of entrapment, the majority held.

Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented, writing, “I believe that the State proved that Griesemer was predisposed to commit the offense because the State established that Griesemer was not reluctant to commit the offense.”

She did not agree with the majority’s suggestion that in order to demonstrate predisposition, the state needed to show Griesemer has a history of patronizing prostitutes or is familiar with the jargon of the prostitution business.
 

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