Tuesday, December 24, 2013

United States v. Russell case brief

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

The State sought review of an order of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reversed defendant's conviction for unlawfully manufacturing and processing methamphetamine and for unlawfully selling and delivering the drug because an undercover agent supplied an essential element for manufacturing the methamphetamine, which formed the basis of defendant's conviction.

An undercover agent supplied defendant with an essential ingredient for the manufacture of methamphetamine in return for one-half of the drug produced.


  • The court of appeals found that defendant was entrapped because the conduct of the agent created an intolerable degree of governmental participation in the criminal enterprise. 
  • The Court refused to overrule cases holding that the principal element in the defense of entrapment was a defendant's predisposition to commit the crime. 
  • The Court found that the court of appeals was wrong to broaden the principles laid down in those cases by introducing an unmanageably subjective standard based upon the conduct of the police that was contrary to the holdings of applicable case law. 
  • The Court held that defendant's concession that there was evidence to support the jury's finding that he was predisposed to commit the crime was fatal to his claim of entrapment.
The Court reversed and held that defendant's defense of entrapment was defeated by his concession that the jury's finding that he was predisposed to committing the crime was supported by the evidence.

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