'Catch a Predator' Lacks Credibility, Entrapped CA Man, Judge Rules

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 18, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Five years after being featured on Dateline's To Catch a Predator, Joseph Roisman of Watsonville, California is finally free.

Charged with lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, the former member of the military was part of an online sting operation conducted by the television show and its watchdog partner, Perverted Justice.

In tossing the charges mid-trial on Tuesday, the judge implied that both Dateline and Perverted Justice lack credibility and entrapped Roisman.

On leave in 2006, Joseph Roisman was contacted in a chat room by an adult posing as an underage teen, reports the Press-Democrat.

After some talk, he agreed to meet the girl, but when he showed up at the home in Petaluma, he was met by cameras from To Catch a Predator.

Roisman's attorney has always contended that he had no intent to engage in sex, and the "girl' pushed the conversation in that direction.

He also has asserted that Joseph Roisman suspected the girl was older, reports the Press-Democrat, as she spoke of mature subjects in a sophisticated manner.

Even before presenting this evidence to the jury, the judge weighed in, ruling that Roisman did not have the "specific intent" required of the crime, and that To Catch a Predator engaged in entrapment.

The defense of entrapment is raised when the government, or those associated with the government, act to induce a person to commit a crime. It often requires that a defendant have no intent to engage in a similar act before being induced by law enforcement.

The judge likely ruled in favor of this defense because there was no evidence that Joseph Roisman had ever intended to engage in sexual activity with a child prior to the incident, and the evidence showed that To Catch a Predator and Perverted Justice initiated the entire ordeal.

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