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What constitutes entrapment?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Criminal Defense

According to the Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems, the majority of entrapment defenses do not reach the desired conclusion because the requirements to prove it are so strict. Anyone wanting to use this as their defense strategy needs to understand what it is.

It is also important to understand the elements that make up a proper defense using entrapment as the basis.

Entrapment defined

Entrapment revolves around the idea that law enforcement should not lure or coerce individuals into committing a crime they were not otherwise predisposed to commit.

Elements of entrapment

At the core of entrapment lies the concept of inducement. This is when law enforcement or government agents persuade or pressure an individual to commit a crime they would not have committed otherwise.

Entrapment cases hinge on the individual’s predisposition to commit the alleged crime. In other words, if the person was already inclined to engage in such criminal activity, the defense of entrapment may not apply.

Courts often use an objective standard to evaluate claims of entrapment. This means that they consider whether the actions of law enforcement would have induced a reasonable person with similar characteristics to commit the crime.

To successfully argue entrapment, the defendant must show that the inducement came from government agents or individuals acting on their behalf.

Courts often balance the government’s role in inducing the crime against the defendant’s predisposition to commit it. If the government’s involvement was significant, and the defendant lacked predisposition, the entrapment defense is more likely to succeed.

To support a claim of entrapment, defendants may present evidence of the inducement they experienced. This could include recorded conversations, witness testimonies or other forms of documentation.

It is important to note that entrapment is a complex legal defense and can be challenging to prove. Not all instances where law enforcement provides an opportunity for criminal activity qualify as entrapment.


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