A person is entrapped when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; in such a case, the law forbids conviction.

Exceptions to Entrapment

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 informer or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person. 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.

Reasonable Doubt and Entrapment

On the other hand, if the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime except for inducement or persuasion on the part of some government officer or agent, then the person is not guilty.

In slightly different words: Even though someone may have sold drugs, as charged by the government, if it was the result of entrapment, then he is not guilty. Government agents entrapped him if three things occurred:

  • First, the idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.
  • Second, the government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.
  • And third, the person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him.

On the issue of entrapment, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped by government agents.