In a federal drug case, United States v. Cortes, No. 12-50137 (9th Cir. Oct. 9, 2013), the Ninth Circuit reversed a conviction for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, finding an error with the judge's instruction to the jury on the defense of entrapment and holding that a sentencing entrapment claim must be tried to the jury when that claim will affect the minimum or maximum sentence.
Is public corruption rampant in Florida's small towns? The FBI seems to think so, considering that it has been investigating Florida mayors and lobbyists for two years after receiving a single, confidential tip. This week, that FBI sting operation resulted in two South Florida mayors and two lobbyists being charged with conspiracy to commit extortion in their official roles after they allegedly accepted kickbacks in return for shepherding supposedly fraudulent federal grant applications through the system and lying about it.
Last week we discussed a disturbing trend in federal law enforcement: the FBI going to great lengths to set up people who may be willing to perform terroristic acts, then busting them on serious federal charges.
Since the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, fighting terrorism has comprised a larger part of the FBI's budget than ever. The agency spends $3.3 billion thwarting terrorist plots and only $2.6 billion investigating organized crime. That shift in budget priorities has led to a shift in their day-to-day operations as well.