Entrapment, we have all heard about. Sean Connery has starred in a movie about it in 1999. We have seen tv shows it, and the term sting has come to have a particular meaning. But what is it exactly, and how is it proven, or disproven. In the United States, the legal term entrapment refers to a legal defense. It was brought about by case law, rather than statute. The United States Supreme Court first recognized the defense in 1932.
Entrapment is when government law enforcement agent induces persons to commit a crime they were not otherwise or predisposed to commit. A successful claim of entrapment in court can result in defendants’ acquittal, whether they actually committed the alleged crime or not. To successfully assert an entrapment defense in federal and most state courts. Defendants must show by a preponderance of the evidence that officers induced them to commit the crime. Assuming defendants prove inducement, the burden of proof moves to the prosecution, which must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime. More simply entrapment occurs when the actions of government officers would usually have caused a normally law-abiding person to commit a crime.
A government law enforcement agent may devise a means to expose a criminal, or create an opportunity to commit a crime. A law enforcement agent may not induce an innocent person to become involved in a crime. The crime may not originate from the law enforcement agent. A law enforcement agent’s acts to Induce a crime may include but is not limited to:
• Appeals to sympathy
• Playing on emotions
Entrapment is a question of fact and is therefore determined by a jury. In deciding this the jury will be weighing both the agent’s behavior and the subjects. It is important for the agent to produce strong evidence of the crime as well as the subject’s predisposition to commit such a crime. Predisposition can be shown by:
• Similar conduct in the past (if they have dealt drugs in the recent past)
• Previously formed intent (the subject already planned or prepared for the crime)
• Quick response to a criminal offer. (reflects acceptance of opportunity)
Because of the growing terrorist threat at home and abroad law enforcement is being asked to become more pro-active than ever before. Law enforcement priorities have been shifting from identifying and catching criminals to stopping crime before it occurs. Naturally, entrapment is an obstacle that law enforcement will be dealing with more and more as the war on terror continues.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.