Entrapment

Every so often a case comes to one of our offices that does not seem right, and the facts just don’t add up. We have seen instances of an arrest being made, and our correct defense is entrapment. This defense is based on the accepted fact that it’s unjust for law enforcement to encourage an individual to perform a criminal activity for the basis of arresting that individual.

NOTE: Florida statute 777.201 defines entrapment as…

(1*) A law enforcement officer… induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.

Basically, this says that law enforcement officers are not allowed to encourage or induce an individual into committing a crime.

Once the defense of entrapment has been shown, it’s up to the prosecutors to prove entrapment did not occur. The prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual was predisposed to commit a particular crime.

There are several questions that need to be answered to determine if entrapment tactics were, in fact, utilized:

1)Was the individual ready to commit the crime they are being charged with?

2)Was it a law enforcement officer or agent that inducted the individual to commit the crime?

3)Did the individual engage in criminal conduct as a direct result of law enforcement engagement?

4)Was the individual encouraged by law enforcement to engage in criminal conduct in order to obtain evidence?

5)Did law enforcement provide the individual with the opportunity or means to facilitate the crime?

In Jacobson v. United States (1991) The United States Supreme Court found that Jacobson was induced into the crime due to entrapment. In 1985, government agencies became interested in Jacobson’s interest in child pornography, and over the next 2 ½ years sent him mailings for fictitious organizations and one non-existent pen pal, all promoting sexual liberation and challenging censorship. Once Jacobson begin to show interest, they began to offer child pornography material, which he eventually purchased – for which he was arrested.

The prosecution was unable to prove that Jacobson would have committed this crime without their direct involvement, and Jacobson’s charges were ultimately reversed due to entrapment.

It is illegal for law enforcement or their agents (undercover, informants, etc…) to induce or engage an individual to commit a crime for the sole purpose of arresting them; they can’t create criminals.

At the Law Office of Travis Koon, we will take the time to thoroughly discuss your case and the best way to approach your defense. We are defense attorneys in Lake City, FL with offices located in Lake City, Gainesville, and Miami. Call us regarding your case, and we will work diligently to defend you!