In the State of California, entrapment may be used as a defense for criminal charges when conduct by a law enforcement agent or agents likely induced a normally law-abiding citizen to commit a crime. Entrapment is considered if it is found that a member of law enforcement encouraged the defendant to commit the crime at hand. It is the responsibility of the defense to prove that the entrapment occurred in California. In the state, law enforcement agents are permitted by law to provide opportunity for a crime to take place, but they are not allowed to coax a person to commit a crime by engaging in overbearing conduct. The overbearing conduct can include coaxing,badgering and importuning to induce the typically law-abiding citizen to commit a crime or crimes. 1
Example of Entrapment
Entrapment is based on an interaction between the defendant and the police officer prior to and/or during an alleged crime. When an interaction is considered to be illegal it typically involves overbearing tactics by police to lead a person to commit a criminal act. The person may not have set out to disobey the law but did so after constant coercion by a law enforcement officer. It is important to note that it is not illegal if an agent of the government simply offered you the opportunity to commit a crime. Ordinary temptation should be avoided, according to judges. They will listen to a claim of entrapment to consider if the average citizen would have said “no” to violating the law. A judge will consider the defense of entrapment if evidence suggests fraud, flattery, harrassments, or threats were made to induce the individual to commit a crime.
If John Jones was charged with selling a prescription pain medication to an undercover police officer but said he only did so because the officer asked for them to help his mom, who is in tremendous pain and is suffering, this would not be an example. If the officer simply asked for the medication, then the defense will not be beneficial in this case. Police officers are allowed to tell a fib to give a person the opportunity to commit a crime. If John Jones testifies, however, that the police officer begged him daily, calling him on the phone and coming to his house, for the prescription medication for his mom, who was dying, then the situation may be considered entrapment. The matter especially would be considered entrapment if the police officer kept coaxing John to sell the drugs after he told him no over and over again, and John finally just gave in due to the constant pressure. 2