What is Entrapment Defense and How Will it Affect Your Case
Several defense scenarios are possible in the aftermath of criminal charges. The entrapment defense in Arizona is one of them. This is an affirmative defense possibility, meaning that the defendant accepts the substantial nature of the criminal charges. In this case, the attorney will try to prove that a law enforcement representative has pushed the defendant into committing the crime.
Entrapment as Defined by Arizona Law
Entrapment is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-206. A person that plans to utilize entrapment defense in Arizona will have the burden of proof for three distinctive elements:
- A law enforcement officer gave the person the idea to commit a certain type of crime
- The law enforcement officer then proceeded to urge the respective person to commit the crime
- The person was not predisposed to commit said crime before they were influenced and urged by a law enforcement officer
All of these elements have to be established. A person who was thinking about committing a crime and who was simply provided with an opportunity by a law enforcement agent (who was most probably acting in an undercover operation) cannot go for entrapment defense in Arizona.
How Entrapment is Proven
Because of the above-mentioned terms and conditions, proving entrapment in Arizona isn’t such an easy task.
In the case of affirmative defense, the defendant is the one who has the burden of proof. The defense team has to find both evidence and witnesses to establish entrapment by a police officer or another official. Keep in mind that entrapment can’t be committed by private individuals.
Whenever the jury concludes on the basis of the evidence that entrapment did take place, the defendant will receive a not guilty verdict. An example of entrapment that can be used to demonstrate the defense scenario is an undercover cop pressuring someone into completing a drug deal. If an attorney can prove that the police officer indeed planted the idea and urged the defendant to go through with the crime, entrapment defense could be brought up.
Whenever the defense team proves that entrapment has occurred, the burden of proof goes back to the prosecution. The prosecutor will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime, regardless of any external influence.
When can Entrapment be Employed?
To sum it up, the entrapment defense in Arizona can be employed only when the defendant admits to a substantial element of the offense. Thus, the defendant has to acknowledge the fact that they committed the crime. In this case, affirmative defense options like entrapment are possible.
A recent court case demonstrates the importance of the admission.
The court case occurred in the summer of 2016. The defendant was charged with selling drugs. In a recorded conversation, the defendant provided an undercover police officer with incriminating evidence. In the conversation, the defendant could be heard saying that they were a good person and that the crime wasn’t a part of their typical behavior.
This conversation was submitted as evidence after the attorney decided to employ the entrapment defense.
When listening to the conversation, however, the court determined that the defendant hadn’t admitted to a substantial element of the crime. As a result, the entrapment defense failed and the defendant was found guilty. They received a 9 and ¼ years prison sentence.
An appeal with Arizona’s Supreme Court failed, as well. Court magistrates ruled out that the police officer should have acted in a way that induces a person to commit a crime they wouldn’t have committed otherwise. The conversation didn’t provide such evidence for the entrapment defense to deliver the desired results.