MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An Illinois teen knew he was too drunk to drive home after a Dave Matthews Band concert south of Milwaukee. So he fell asleep in his car, only to be awoken by a state trooper. Travis Peterson, 19, of Dixon, Ill., said even though he told the officer he was drunk and sleeping it off, the trooper ordered him to leave because the lot was being cleared.
Once out of the parking lot, Peterson was arrested for drunken driving. He was subsequently found guilty and ordered to spend 60 days in jail.You can't get much more of an open and shut case of entrapment than this one. The police ordered a man to commit a crime then arrested him for that crime.
A Wisconsin appeals court on Wednesday commended Peterson for doing the right thing by trying to sleep it off, and said the trial court was wrong not to let him argue that police had entrapped him.
The state had argued successfully at trial that people who choose to drink too much can't argue they've been entrapped when stopped for drunken driving. The 2nd District Court of Appeals disagreed.It's not often you get a Court of Appeals which praises a drunk teenager. The teenager was convicted initially, likely because we as a society essentially criminalize certain types of behavior - drinking, concert going, being a teenager - and when something happens to someone engaging in such behavior, we say they "had it coming" by engaging in what should be regarded as perfectly acceptable behavior. In this case, the Court of Appeals rightfully disagreed with this, saying it didn't matter that he was an underage drunk after a concert, he tried to do the right thing and shouldn't have been punished for it.