Another Sex Sting Case Thrown Out in Manatee County
On May 8th, Judge Lakin in Manatee County tossed out another Internet Sex Sting Case finding that the conduct of Law Enforcement constituted entrapment as a matter of law. This is the third case to be thrown out in Manatee County. Every “traveler” case is different but a pattern is emerging. In this latest case, the undercover chatter was Shea Llabre, a Federal ICE agent that the local sheriff’s have been using because of her young seductive sounding voice. She testified in a case I handled here in Sarasota County involving a young Air Force man that was acquitted by a jury. The conduct of the undercover chatters in this latest case was what the judge described as a concerted effort to lure him into committing a crime. In this latest case, law enforcement repeatedly reinitiated contact with the defendant repeatedly bringing up sex. When the defendant balked he was rebuked by the undercover officer. Law enforcement sent suggestive pictures of an adult woman wrapped in a towel in a motel room. The police actually admitted that pictures were taken of an adult Sheriff’s employee named Tracy Ditori posing in the towel to induce the defendant. This case is outrageous and just another example of the lengths the cops will go to in order to make an arrest for traveling to meet a minor and Internet solicitation of a minor. This opinion is a “must read” for all lawyers handling these types of sex crime cases.
As a sex sting lawyer, I have now been involved in about twenty similar cases. Many of the defendants really were not looking to have sex with a minor. In this latest case, the young man just wanted to “hang” and “chill out”. Over and over he backed out and over and over the cops tried to draw him back in. Over and over the cop brings us sex and extends an invitation to come over. Judge Lakin found that in this case the police conduct was egregious, odius and superfluous. We can only hope that some of the other judges will have to courage to deal with other similar cases in a similar manner. Judge Lakin found that the police actually pressured the defendant over the course of twelve days and the State failed to establish that the defendant had any predisposition to engage in sex with a minor. It is one thing for the cops to do this type of underhanded law enforcement. The State attorney should bring it to an end. Time will tell because they just ran another sting here in Sarasota arresting twelve men.
I am getting ready to litigate several of the new arrests in Manatee and Sarasota and when the smoke clears, the entrapment conduct will again be exposed. If you have questions, call for a free consultation at 941 366 3506