What is Entrapment?

What is Entrapment? 
Sometimes law enforcement behavior can be so despicable that their conduct and method of investigation leads only to entrapped citizens. This form of entrapment is rare but not unheard of. 
What is Entrapment?

Entrapment occurs when criminal conduct is a product of law enforcement officials. In other words, a police officer can’t lure an innocent person to commit a crime then arrest them for it. When cops cross this boundary the defense of entrapment is available.

Florida Laws on Entrapment

Florida recognizes two theories of defense based on entrapment: subjective and objective entrapment. See 777.201, Florida Statutes; Munoz v. State, 629 So. 2d 90, 99 (Fla. 1993). Subjective entrapment focuses on whether conduct by law enforcement induced, encouraged, or caused the defendant to commit a crime when he or she was not predisposed to do so. See § 777.201, Fla. Stat.; Jones v. State, 114 So. 3d 1123, 1126 (Fla. 1st DCA 2013).

Subjective Entrapment

The test to establish a subjective entrapment defense includes:

1. whether a government agent induced the defendant to commit the crime charged;

Inducement has been defined as “any government conduct creating a substantial risk that an otherwise law-abiding citizen would commit an offense, including persuasion, fraudulent representations, threats, coercive tactics, harassment, promises of reward, or pleas based on need, sympathy or friendship” Farley v. State, 848 So. 2d 393 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003).

2. whether the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime charged;

Predisposition asks whether the accused was awaiting any propitious opportunity or was ready and willing, without persuasion, to commit the offense. Munoz, 629 So. 2d at 99. Predisposition is not present when one has no prior criminal history related to the offense at issue. Nadeau v. State, 683 So. 2d 504, 506 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995).

(3) whether the entrapment defense should be evaluated by the jury.

Where the facts and the law establish entrapment there is no need for the jury to make any findings of fact. Where facts are contested though the issue of entrapment will be decided by a jury. 

Objective Entrapment

Objective entrapment occurs when egregious law enforcement conduct amounts to a violation of the defendant’s right to due process under article I, section 9, of the Florida Constitution. See Munoz, 629 So. 2d at 99.

Simply put, law enforcement behavior can be so despicable that their conduct and method of investigation leads only to entrapped citizens. This form of entrapment is rare but not unheard of. 

Thanks to Guest Author Robson Powers of the Law Office of Michael P. Maddux, P.A.  

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