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The Champion

August 2010 , Page 42 

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Grid & Bear It: Let The Seller Beware: Sentencing Entrapment And Manipulation in Federal Court

By Mark P. Rankin; Rachel May Zysk

Read more Grid & Bear It columns.

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 related arguments. It also suggests how defense counsel in any jurisdiction can combat gov

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