Friday, May 2, 2014

God the Prosecutor?

I've been doing some research about judicial citations to the Bible and came across this interesting dissenting opinion. The quoted part is a little long, but worth the read. 

The defendant had been convicted of selling drugs after he sold heroin to a police officer, who had been introduced to the defendant by an informant. The defendant had sought and been denied a jury charge on entrapment. The majority agreed that the entrapment charge was inappropriate, but the dissent didn't and compared the situation to that of Adam and Eve and the serpent in the Garden:

The majority opinion declines to recognize the entrapment defense, and contends it was the mere setting of a trap into which the defendant fell. Of course! That is exactly what entrapment is. The majority opinion, on page 132, cites and relies on Sutton v. State, 59 Ga. App. 198, 199, 200 S.E.2d 225, 226 (1938), to show that the State is entitled to set a trap for the defendant, and also that the defense of entrapment, as pleaded in the Garden of Eden (that ‘The serpent beguiled me and I did eat’), was not then allowed by Christian ethics, nor now by any code of civilized ethics, to give indemnity to the culprit.

But this argument by the majority mistakes and confuses the premise upon which entrapment may be pleaded. Entrapment is allowed as a defense against the prosecutor (or the state or the government), only when the prosecutor (or the state or the government) is alleged to have entrapped the defendant. Entrapment is not available as a defense if some third person, who is not acting as an agent of the prosecutor, state or government, entraps the defendant. Code Ann. section 26-905 provides that when the idea of the crime originates with an officer or agent of the state, who by undue persuasion, incitement, or deceitful means, induces defendant to do something he otherwise would not have done, then the defense of entrapment is available as a complete defense.

In Holy Writ, the Lord God occupies the position of the prosecutor, or the state, or the government. God did not send his agent into the Garden of Eden to entrap Adam and Eve. To the contrary, the serpent was working the other side of the street, acting on his own volition, and as an agent of the Devil. Therefore, the woman could not say to God that your agent deceived me, but her plea was that, ‘The serpent beguiled me and I did eat.’
The serpent was not the agent of the Lord God, he was the agent of the Devil-he was on the other side from the government, and indeed the serpent himself came under heavy criticism and condemnation for his wrongful conduct, as follows: 'And the Lord God said unto the serpent, 'Because thou has done this, thou art cursed above all cattle and above ever beast of the field; upon thy belly thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy see and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:14-15. In the present case, if defendant had been entrapped by someone completely disconnected with the state-a serpent, for instance-he would not be allowed to raise the defense of entrapment. He would be in a position similar to that of Adam and Eve-entrapped by the forces of evil, but not by the Lord God, nor by an agent of the state.  
Thomas v. State, 134 Ga. App. 18, 24-25, 213 S.E.2d 129, 133-34 (1975) (Evans, J., dissenting in part). 
Happy Friday!

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