Police Entrapment in Drug Investigations
You may have heard about entrapment but what is it, when can it be used in a drug case, and how can it help?
Entrapment is a positive defense, or affirmative defense, under the law that allows for individuals who are being charged with a crime to defend themselves to be found not guilty at jury trial. As part of any affirmative defense, the issue is not whether the defendant did what the government is trying to say that they did. For instance, self-defense is another example of an affirmative defense. The issue in a self-defense case may not be whether or not the defendant shot their attacker, but whether they were legally justified in doing so. So the defense at trial would not be arguing whether their client shot the attacker, but simply whether or not they were legally justified.
Entrapment works much the same way.
Examples of Entrapment in Drug Investigations
In an entrapment case, the issue is whether or not the government is baiting or enticing someone to commit a crime that they were not otherwise going to commit. In other words, it is not simply enough that the government would provide the means, but they must also give the person the intention to do so.
In order to raise entrapment, the right facts and the right situation need to be present. Did the government agent or confidential informant harass you into a drug crime? Did they coerce you in some way? These are just some examples of how entrapment could be raised.
In order for entrapment to be effective at trial, there must be sufficient doubt that the individual was predisposed towards committing the offense that they have been charged with, but for the government involvement. This can be a very factual as well as technical argument to be made.