Off-duty firefighter Robin Garrison was walking through a park in Columbus Ohio last May when he came across a woman sunbathing topless (this is legal in Columbus; I’ve been to Columbus, and I must have visited the wrong parks). They began to chat. She rested her foot on his shoulder. They flirted. She asked to see his penis. He complied. Undercover police officers appeared and arrested him for indecent exposure. This was, they said, “an undercover sting operation to catch perverts.”
Garrison was found guilty, fined $250, placed on a year’s probation, and the fire department is considering their own sanctions. He’s appealing his conviction on the grounds that the jury wasn’t properly instructed on what “entrapment” means.
Entrapment is defined as being persuaded by police (or other law enforcement or those working on their behalf) to commit a crime one had no previous intention to commit. It does not apply when the defendant is already inclined to commit the crime and law enforcement agents simply facilitate it or otherwise provide the opportunity.
Some new information:
Seems the police did have undercover officers in the park as part of a sting operation to catch “perverts,” but this woman wasn’t part of it. She just happened to have been sitting there sunning herself topless — in the shade under a tree — for several days and the police officers were just… looking in her direction a lot, apparently. And Garrison was only one of at least two men who were arrested for displaying their genitalia at the woman’s request that day.
Okay, now… you’d think after the first arrest, the woman might have begun to suspect she was being used as an entrapment agent by police.