United States v. Baker, No. 18-1663 (3d Cir. 2019)

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Justia Opinion Summary

The FBI recruited Fairview Township Police Officer Baker’s fellow officer, Bennage, to assist in an investigation into allegations that Baker was involved in stealing drug proceeds. Baker learned that Bennage had found cash on a drug-overdose victim; Baker texted, “Where’s mine? LOL.” Bennage responded that others had been watching. Baker responded, “next time. LOL.” Days later, after Bennage and other officers discovered multiple stacks of cash during a search, Baker sent Bennage a text saying that he would help with the evidence and “don’t get greedy, be smart.” Baker told Bennage to put his share in a toolbox in Baker’s truck. Less than a month later, the FBI and Bennage executed an undercover operation in which Bennage and Baker stopped an FBI agent traveling with $15,000, posing as a drug trafficker. Bennage took the ‘trafficker’ in for booking, leaving Baker alone with the vehicle. Baker searched the car. He discovered the $15,000. FBI cameras recorded the process. Baker took $3,000. He later confessed to the thefts and was convicted of stealing or embezzling public money, 18 U.S.C. 641. The Third Circuit affirmed, upholding the trial court’s refusal to give an entrapment jury instruction and a jury instruction requiring the government to prove that he had an intent to permanently, rather than temporarily, deprive the government of its money, and its refusal to allow Mrs. Baker to testify about the financial burden of her cancer-related medical bills.

This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on May 24, 2019.

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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT May 30, 2019 No. 18-1663 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. TYSON BAKER, Appellant (M.D. Pa. No. 1-16-cr-00018-001) Present: JORDAN, KRAUSE and ROTH, Circuit Judges Motion by Appellee to Publish Opinion Dated May 24, 2019. Respectfully, Clerk/kr _________________________________ORDER________________________________ The foregoing motion to publish opinion is hereby GRANTED. By the Court, s/ Kent A. Jordan Circuit Judge Dated: July 1, 2019 kr/cc: William A. Behe, Esq. Jack J. McMahon, Jr., Esq.
Primary Holding

Third Circuit upholds former police officer's conviction for stealing or embezzling public monty.

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