|JOEL COLEMAN -FORMER ABC UNDERCOVER MINOR|
Joel Coleman was an undercover minor for the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control from November 2008 through November 2010 when he was 17 and 18 years old at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs. Coleman had acting experience which made him a good fit for ABC undercover activity.
The use of an under-age agent to attempt to purchase alcohol is extremely questionable and some would argue that it is a form of entrapment or a sting operation.
Entrapment vs. Opportunity.The key aspect of entrapment is this: Government agents do not entrap defendants simply by offering them an opportunity to commit a crime. Judges expect people to resist any ordinary temptation to violate the law. An entrapment defense arises when government agents resort to repugnant behavior such as the use of threats, harassment, fraud, or even flattery to induce defendants to commit crimes.
The Texas ABC has this posted on their website:
"Our experience with the use of minor stings has shown us that by and large, retailers are responsible when it comes to the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors. While minor stings may be a controversial law enforcement tool, it is nonetheless an excellent means of combating the problems associated with the unlawful purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages by young Texans".
John Hinman, a San Francisco lawyer who defends alcohol industry interests, said this about law enforcement agencies using undercover minors. "Deception has been the goal"..."police use old-appearing decoys; decoys dress up in suits, wear make-up, take briefcases. . . .it's pure entrapment."
Did the ABC use false identification to assist their undercover agents?
The ABC is part of the Department of Finance & Administration and it would be
easy to obtain a real bogus ID from their Driver Services. Or the ABC could have used the tools collected by their former deputy director, Rick Crisman to create their own fake ID's or purchase one from ID Chief.com.
As Crisman pointed out in his letters seeking ID's from all the states to use in his smartphone application, there are places to obtain realistic fake ID's.
There are also photoshop templates available for purchase via the Internet.
An outside agency needs to review the operations of the ABC. An agency that would permit an employee to break the law as Rick Crisman did, is capable of other nefarious acts.