The Defense of Entrapment

There are two kinds of entrapment – objective entrapment and subjective entrapment.

Objective entrapment bars prosecution of a crime when government action or conduct so offends decency or a sense of justice such that it amounts to a denial of due process. Subjective entrapment focuses on the inducement of the accused based on a lack of predisposition to commit the offense. Subjective entrapment is codified in §777.201.

If you feel you have a defense of entrapment, you should raise it in a formal motion to dismiss rather than a motion for a judgment of acquittal during a trial. Ask your attorney about this potential strategic move.

Many things come to mind when we hear the word entrapment. Many of us may think it is a legal defense that can be raised in court when the police, an undercover officer, or a confidential informant coerce us or force us to do something we would not otherwise do. While that may be true, there may be some scenarios where you think entrapment would apply but does not.

Examples for the Defense of Entrapment

Here are some examples of where it does apply.

You get involved in a romantic relationship with a woman (who is a confidential informant for the police) and she badgers you to help her in buying illegal drugs. An undercover officer joins in on trying to convince you to make the drug buys. That’s entrapment because the conduct is egregious.

A cop sends e-mails to a lot of people advertising sexual materials. Defendant responds asking for tapes of teen-aged boys. The officer manufactures the tapes, delivers them to the defendant and arrests him. This case was held to be subjective entrapment because the officer induced the defendant to commit the crime and there was no evidence of predisposition. The fact that he ordered the video tapes does not show predisposition. This case was also held to be objective entrapment because the police manufactured the tapes and promised the defendant that he was safe from government intrusion. Such police conduct violates due process. See Farley v. State, 848 So.2d 393.

Entrapment may be able to be used in sex crimes defense cases. For example, traveling to meet a minor, solicitation of a minor via computer, or attempted lewd or lascivious battery. These charges are aggressively prosecuted by local State Attorney’s Offices and should be handled by a defense attorney with experience in this area of law.

Evidence in the Defense of Entrapment

Keep in mind that evidence of prior crimes may be admissible to rebut entrapment by showing a predisposition to commit the crime. Even if those other charges may have been dismissed, the State can still show that you were previously arrested for similar crimes and use that against you. This is called Williams Rule Evidence.

If you think you have a valid entrapment defense or concerns that you may have been entrapped by law enforcement, contact me for more information.


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