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Grid & Bear It
By Mark P. Rankin; Rachel May Zysk
Let The Seller Beware: Sentencing Entrapment And Manipulation in Federal Court
Attorneys who practice long enough in federal court notice a pattern in
narcotics cases — small-time dealers who are seemingly overnight
promoted to the big leagues of drug distribution, then arrested and
charged with selling large quantities of drugs. They will also
frequently see a defendant who has never before been an armed trafficker
bring a firearm to a deal. How and why are these peons of narcotics
trafficking so quickly working their way up in the world? How do
defendants with no history of firearms end up selling a gun along with
the drugs? This happens most often because the government itself has
asked them to do so. The result? A lengthy prison sentence fit for a
true drug kingpin is imposed upon a low-level street dealer.
It is called sentencing entrapment or sentencing factor manipulation.1
This article describes the messy state of the law regarding these
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