State v. Robins – Case Brief Summary (Wisconsin)

In State v. Robins (Wis. 2002) 2002 WI 65, 646 N.W.2d 287, 253 Wis. 2d 298, the defendant engaged in a series of online conversations with an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old boy. The conversations "centered on explicit sexual matters." (Id. at p. 289.)

The defendant subsequently had a telephone conversation with another undercover officer, during which they made arrangements to meet at a Burger King restaurant. The defendant drove to the restaurant at the appointed time and "was arrested as he walked towards the restaurant." (Id. at p. 290.) After his arrest, the defendant "admitted that he had set up the meeting with the supposed victim for the purpose of having sex with him." (Id. at p. 291.)

The defendant was charged with attempted child enticement under Wisconsin law. He filed a pretrial motion to dismiss, "alleging insufficient evidence to support the bindover." (Ibid.)

The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, and the defendant appealed. The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge of attempted child enticement.

The court explained:

"The complaint and preliminary hearing establish that the defendant engaged in sexually-explicit online 'chats' and e-mails with a person he thought was a 13-year-old boy, for the express purpose of illegally soliciting that boy for sex; that he arranged a meeting time and place to effectuate that purpose; and that he traveled to and arrived at the agreed-upon meeting place, where he was arrested. These allegations easily establish probable cause to believe that Robins attempted the crime of felony child enticement; that is, that he possessed the intent to entice a child for sexual intercourse and that he engaged in unequivocal acts in furtherance of that criminal objective such that it was improbable that he would desist of his own free will." (Id. at p. 295.)