Published on: Monday, April 24, 2023

Twenty-year-old Ohio man runs an online chat roomwhere he urges others to help him create a militia group and revolt against tyranny. The group is infiltrated by FBI informants, and the man is eventually arrested and convicted of attempted kidnapping based on a scheme to lure a police officer to a secluded area and rough him up to gain notoriety and new members. Sixth Circuit: Well, his inchoate scheme turned on the as-yet unsecured participation of a 14-year-old with the screenname "SecretAgentRandyBeans," and all of the overt acts were shepherded along by the FBI. So it's tough to say he wasn't just playing make-believe. Basically, his " idea for an attack against law enforcement was at most in its planning stage." Conviction overturned. Dissent: This is a close one but the jury thought he was serious enough about his plans to convict him, which should be good enough for us.

The case is United States v. Ferguson, No. 21-03800 (6th Cir. Apr. 20, 2023).