Difference between revisions of "Entrapment"

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(Created page with 'Entrapment is a procedural defense under which a defense lawyer argues that a government official lured the defendant into committing the crime')
 
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Entrapment is a procedural defense under which a defense lawyer argues that a government official lured the defendant into committing the crime
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Entrapment is a defense when the government (through law enforcement officers or otherwise) induces a person to commit a crime and then tries to punish the person who committed it.  The defense consists of two elements:
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* the criminal design must have originated with law enforcement officers (not a private citizen); and
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* the defendant must not have been predisposed to commit the crime prior to the initial contact by the government.
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Thus, even if the defendant presents sufficient evidence of entrapment, if a judge or jury believes that the suspect was predisposed or likely to commit the crime anyway, the suspect can still be found guilty despite the evidence that a government agent suggested the crime and helped the defendant to commit it. 
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Additionally, the entrapment defense is not available if a police officer merely provides the opportunity for the commission of  a crime by one otherwise ready and willing to commit it.  For example, if an undercover police officer poses as a drug addict and a defendant sells the officer drugs, the seller does not have an entrapment defense.  The officer merely provided an opportunity for the defendant to commit a crime.  On the other hand, in situations where a government agent planted the idea of a crime in an innocent person's mind and induced or coerced the person to commit the crime, an entrapment defense is a viable option.
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The entrapment defense is difficult and not generally successful (especially if the defendant has prior convictions for the same type of crime).  If the defendant does in fact have such a history of prior convictions, entrapment is a risky defense because the jury will hear about the defendant's past criminal behavior which will likely be very prejudicial.

Revision as of 16:46, 7 April 2010

Entrapment is a defense when the government (through law enforcement officers or otherwise) induces a person to commit a crime and then tries to punish the person who committed it. The defense consists of two elements:

  • the criminal design must have originated with law enforcement officers (not a private citizen); and
  • the defendant must not have been predisposed to commit the crime prior to the initial contact by the government.

Thus, even if the defendant presents sufficient evidence of entrapment, if a judge or jury believes that the suspect was predisposed or likely to commit the crime anyway, the suspect can still be found guilty despite the evidence that a government agent suggested the crime and helped the defendant to commit it.

Additionally, the entrapment defense is not available if a police officer merely provides the opportunity for the commission of a crime by one otherwise ready and willing to commit it. For example, if an undercover police officer poses as a drug addict and a defendant sells the officer drugs, the seller does not have an entrapment defense. The officer merely provided an opportunity for the defendant to commit a crime. On the other hand, in situations where a government agent planted the idea of a crime in an innocent person's mind and induced or coerced the person to commit the crime, an entrapment defense is a viable option.

The entrapment defense is difficult and not generally successful (especially if the defendant has prior convictions for the same type of crime). If the defendant does in fact have such a history of prior convictions, entrapment is a risky defense because the jury will hear about the defendant's past criminal behavior which will likely be very prejudicial.