Washington v. Arbogast (Majority and Dissent)Annotate this Case
Respondent Douglas Arbogast was charged with two counts of attempted child rape as a result of a Washington State Patrol sting operation. Police officers posted an advertisement online and posed as a mother seeking a person to teach her two children about sex. Arbogast answered the ad, exchanged messages with undercover officers, and was later arrested. At trial, Arbogast sought to present the affirmative defense of entrapment and his lack of criminal convictions as evidence that he was not predisposed to commit the charged crimes of attempted child rape. The trial court declined to allow evidence of his lack of criminal record or instruct the jury on entrapment. Arbogast was convicted. A divided panel of the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. The Washington Supreme Court held that to obtain an entrapment instruction, defendants must make a prima facie showing: (1) the crime originated in the mind of the police or an informant; and (2) the defendant was induced to commit a crime that he or she was not predisposed to commit. "The measure of a prima facie showing is whether the evidence offered, considered in a light most favorable to the defendant, is sufficient to permit a reasonable juror to find entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence. Here, Arbogast offered sufficient evidence to justify an instruction. Whether he can establish the defense is ultimately a decision for the jury." Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Court of Appeals.