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Entrapment: When the Cops Set You Up

Entrapment is a possible defense in any criminal case where the police induce a person to commit a crime. In Indiana, entrapment is a defense to a crime when: a.) the criminal act was the product of police persuasion likely to cause the person to engage in criminal conduct; and b.) the person was not predisposed to commit the offense. The typical entrapment case involves police officers working undercover, or using confidential informants, to induce otherwise law-abiding people into violating the law. The Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Court of Appeals have upheld the use of the entrapment defense in a wide variety of cases, including Operating While Intoxicated, Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor, Prostitution, Dealing in Cocaine, and Theft.

Once a defendant indicates that he intends to rely on the defense of entrapment and establishes police inducement, the burden shifts to the State to demonstrate the defendant’s predisposition to commit the crime. The following factors are admissible into evidence and important in establishing the defense of entrapment:

  1. The character or reputation of the defendant;
  2. Whether the suggestion of criminal activity was originally made by the government;
  3. Whether the defendant was engaged in criminal activity for a profit;
  4. Whether the defendant evidenced reluctance to commit the offense, overcome by government persuasion; and
  5. The nature of the inducement or persuasion offered by the government.
A defendant who raises entrapment at trial is entitled to a jury instruction on the defense. Once the defendant introduces evidence of police enticement, the burden is on the prosecutor to show that the defendant has not been induced or hired by a governmental agency to commit a crime which he had no predisposition to commit. If you have been charged with a crime that resulted from a police sting or other police inducement, you should contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately. You may have a valid defense of entrapment.