7th Circuit Affirms Conspiracy and Gun Possession Conviction, Rejecting Entrapment Defense in a “Stash House Sting”

In this case, the Defendant was recruited by co-defendants who were recruited by someone who was recruited by an undercover government agent who hatched a stash house robbery plot to ensnare all of the defendants.

After a lengthy discussion, the 7th circuit affirmed the conspiracy conviction based on the testimony of the co-defendant and the defendant’s admission that he had been at a planning meeting. That, coupled with the defendant’s entry into a van and donning of gloves showed the substantial step the government needed in the eyes of the court.

The 7th circuit also affirmed weapons possession charges against this defendant under a theory of Pinkerton liability. Since evidence showing actual or constructive possession of the weapon was flimsy for the government, the court looked to the scope of the conspiracy and what was foreseeable to this defendant to affirm his felon in possession charges.

The 7th circuit rejected the defendant’s arguments regarding entrapment as well. Since this defendant was not recruited by a government agent, he could not be entrapped. The 7th circuit also rejected a derivative entrapment argument on the basis that that at most would apply to the first person the agent recruited. The 7th circuit decided that this defendant was too far removed from the government’s actions.

This case is mandatory reading if you’re defending a stash house case or considering some form of entrapment defense. The Seventh Circuit panel noted its express disapproval for these kinds of prosecutions.

The case is United States v. Tracey Conley.


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