What is the definition of "entrapment"?
“Entrapment” is a defense to a criminal charge raised in cases where overzealous law enforcement agents induce a person to commit a crime. The theory behind the defense of entrapment is that we shouldn’t punish someone who was induced by the government to commit a crime. A valid entrapment defense has two related components:
Governmental inducement of the crime and
Lack of predisposition on the part of the defendant to commit the crime
The defendant has the initial burden of proving the government induced him to commit the crime. Then the burden rests on the government to overcome an entrapment defense by proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime.
Entrapment occurs when the criminal design starts with law enforcement officers, who plant the idea to commit the crime in the mind of an innocent person, and then convince him to do the crime so they can prosecute him.
“Predisposition” focuses on whether the defendant was an unwary innocent who, but for the inducement of the officers, wouldn’t have committed the crime.
The fact that law enforcement agents provide the opportunity or place for the crime doesn’t add up to entrapment. It’s only entrapment when the idea for committing the crime is planted in the defendant’s mind by law enforcement.
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