In criminal law, entrapment is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. In many jurisdictions, entrapment is a possible defense against criminal liability. However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the government agents merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informant or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person (see sting operation). So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity.

On the other hand, if the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime had it not been for inducement or persuasion on the part of some government officer or agent, then the person is not guilty. For example, if a defendant had purchased illegal drugs from an undercover officer, he may be found not guilty if it is determined that the officer initiated the transaction or aggressively pressed the accused to complete it.

Entrapment holds if all three conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.
  2. Government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving someone the opportunity to commit a crime is not the same as persuading them to commit that crime.
  3. The person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before interaction with the government agents.

Depending on the law in the jurisdiction, the prosecution may be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped or the defendant may be required to prove that he was entrapped as an affirmative defense.

Read more about EntrapmentUnited States, Canada, England and Wales, Scotland, Germany, France

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