The Corner

Entrapment Cont’d

This, I think, is a point well-taken:

Mr. Goldberg,   Not to defend Craig in anyway, but wouldn’t a better, and significantly less constitutionally dubious, way to “stop random men from using a public men’s room at their airport as a den of iniquity” be to have uniformed police patrolling the men’s rooms at the airport?  I highly doubt too many people would be playing bathroom bordello while a uniformed Minneapolis cop was using the hand drier: same amount of resources allocated and the crime is still prevented….and, as a plus, people wouldn’t be arrested for toe-tapping or toilet-paper snatching…

And then there’s this:

How many complaints did it take to get the Airport Police to place an

officer in the men’s room to stop this?

I’m sure there was a ton of action going on, annoying other passengers to

get the Police to do something this boring.

The officer who issued the ticket has a masters in Criminal Justice, so I’m

sure he wasn’t just blindly assuming crime was going on where none was. 

And this:

Jonah,

       I agree with you that Sen. Craig, in all likelihood, was looking for what he is accused of looking for and also what happened is not at all entrapment.  What I think is bothering many people intuitively, however, and what bothers me as an attorney, is that he was arrested for conduct that, if viewed on its face, simply can’t be called criminal.  Tapping your foot and waving your hand under the stall?  Very creepy and very much unwanted by most men in a men’s room, but criminal?  What if Sen. Craig was getting ready to ask for his phone number for the next time he is in town or ask him to have drinks in the airport bar–again creepy, but that would be flirting, not a crime.  It just seems like sloppy police work.  Anyone who has watched Cops a few times knows that in police prostitution stings it is not enough that a man simply talks to a prostitute (or decoy prostitute), even if he asks her to have sex.  It takes an acknowledgement by both parties that it is to be sex for money–that is what makes it a crime. Similarly, here the crime is not foot-tapping or hand-waving or even “hitting on man” in a men’s room.  The crime would be having some sort of sexual encounter in a public men’s room.  Thus the cop, in my view, showed his badge too quickly.  Obviously, they don’t have to have sex, but, just as in prostitution stings, he needed some overt acknowledgement that Sen. Craig was looking for sex right there, right then.  Had he been more patient, I, in my own mind, have no doubt how things would have proceeded and there would now be no question at all about Sen. Craig’s intent and he would already be gone.

 And then a million readers note that they’ve never, ever, ever, touched another dude’s foot from their stall. And if they were to do so, the last thing  they’d do is start running their hand along the stall wall. They’d pretend it never happened.   

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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