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Entrapment, Predisposition, Proof, Inducement

Entrapment Defense in Indiana: A Comprehensive Guide


The entrapment defense is a powerful tool for criminal defense attorneys, allowing defendants to argue that they were induced by law enforcement to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. This blog provides an in-depth look at the entrapment defense in Indiana, exploring its statutory basis, the burden of proof, key case law, and its application in various types of criminal cases. It is designed to help individuals recently arrested on charges where entrapment might be a viable defense. 

Statutory Foundation 

Entrapment in Indiana is governed by IC 35-41-3-9: 

IC 35-41-3-9 (a) It is a defense that: 

  1. The prohibited conduct of the person was the product of a law enforcement officer, or his agent, using persuasion or other means likely to cause the person to engage in the conduct; and
  2. The person was not predisposed to commit the offense. 

(b) Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit the offense does not constitute entrapment. 

Legal Standards and Burden of Proof 

The entrapment defense involves a two-step burden of proof: 

  1. Defendant's Burden: The defendant must first demonstrate that law enforcement induced them to commit the crime.
  2. State's Burden: Once inducement is established, the burden shifts to the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime. 

Types of Cases Where Entrapment Can Be Used 

Entrapment can be a valid defense in various cases, particularly those involving: 

Key Elements of Entrapment 

To successfully claim entrapment, a defendant must prove: 

  1. Inducement by Law Enforcement: Demonstrate that law enforcement officers persuaded, coerced, or induced the defendant to commit the crime.
  2. Lack of Predisposition: Show that the defendant was not inclined to commit the crime before being induced by law enforcement. 

Case Law Examples 

Patronizing a Prostitute Case 

A defendant was convicted of patronizing a prostitute. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the conviction was improper because entrapment was established as a matter of law. The evidence suggested that the defendant's criminal behavior was induced by the police, and there was no evidence to suggest the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime. The court emphasized that simply providing an opportunity for the defendant to commit the crime does not constitute entrapment if there is no predisposition. 

Outcome: Judgment reversed. 

Prostitution Case 

In another case, a defendant was convicted of prostitution after agreeing to have sex for money with an undercover officer. The court upheld the conviction, finding that the officer's actions did not constitute inducement but merely provided an opportunity for the defendant to commit the crime. The court highlighted that the defendant readily agreed to the officer's propositions, indicating a lack of coercion or persuasion by the officer. 

Outcome: Conviction affirmed. 

Unlawful Dealing in a Controlled Substance Case 

A defendant was convicted of unlawful dealing in a controlled substance. The trial court refused to give a requested instruction on entrapment, and the appellate court found this refusal erroneous. The appellate court held that the State's instruction required inducement by the State to be of such nature that a normal law-abiding citizen would have been persuaded to commit the crime, which was not a correct statement of the law. The case was remanded for a new trial with proper jury instructions on entrapment. 

Outcome: Judgment reversed and remanded for a new trial. 

OWI Case 

A defendant was convicted of driving while intoxicated after police officers insisted he move his broken-down truck, despite his decision to wait until the following morning. The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the conviction, concluding that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant's conduct was not the product of police persuasion. The court emphasized that the predisposition element of the entrapment defense was not at issue because the defendant had no intention of driving while intoxicated until the police insisted. 

Outcome: Judgment reversed. 

Jury Instructions on Entrapment 

When the entrapment defense is raised, jurors are instructed to consider: 


The entrapment defense in Indiana is a critical strategy for defendants who were induced by law enforcement to commit crimes they otherwise would not have committed. Understanding the nuances of inducement and predisposition is essential for a successful entrapment defense. If you believe entrapment applies to your case, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can navigate this complex defense effectively. 



Laws and court interpretations can change. This blog provides general information and should not be considered legal advice. For current and case-specific advice, contact an attorney.