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What is Entrapment?

If you are charged with a crime, entrapment may apply if the commission of the crime was instigated, coerced or encouraged by outrageous government conduct. In Michigan, it is a defense to a crime if the person charged can establish “entrapment” occurred. Under the current entrapment test in Michigan, a defendant is considered entrapped based upon either of the following scenarios:

  • The police engaged in impermissible conduct that would induce a law-abiding person to commit a crime in similar circumstances, or,
  • The police engaged in conduct so reprehensible that it cannot be tolerated. When examining whether governmental activity would impermissibly induce criminal conduct.

Entrapment applies only to conduct by the government (police, law enforcement officers). Most measures, including sting operations, used by the police to crack down on crime or infiltrate criminal enterprises are acceptable and deemed necessary. However, when the police go after someone that is an otherwise law-abiding citizen and they go beyond the scope of reasonable police tactics, the defense of entrapment may apply. The following crimes give rise to the defense of entrapment more than others:

Just because a person gets caught up in a police sting operation or is scammed by the government does not mean it is entrapment. There are many factors that are considered when the defense of entrapment is advanced.

Entrapment Factors Considered

There are several factors which may be considered in determining whether a person was entrapped:

  • Whether there existed appeals to the defendant’s sympathy as a friend,
  • Whether the defendant had been known to commit the crime with which he was charged,
  • Whether there were any long time lapses between the investigation and the arrest,
  • Whether there existed inducements that would make the commission of a crime unusually attractive to a law-abiding citizen,
  • Whether there were offers of excessive consideration or other enticement,
  • Whether there was a guarantee that the acts alleged as crimes were not illegal,
  • Whether, and to what extent, any government pressure existed,
  • Whether there existed sexual favors,
  • Whether there were any threats of arrest,
  • Whether there existed any government procedures that tended to escalate the criminal culpability of the defendant,
  • Whether there was police control over any informant, and,
  • Whether the investigation was targeted.
John DeLorean: Famous Entrapment Case

Do you remember the case of United States vs. John DeLorean where the entrapment defense was successful utilized on behalf of John DeLorean? Mr. DeLorean, was an American car designer (designer of the GTO) and founder of the DeLorean car company. In 1982, while he was struggling to keep his car company afloat, DeLorean was lured into a cocaine deal by undercover FBI agents. In 1984, DeLorean was found NOT GUILTY. The defense fought and won on the grounds that DeLorean was entrapped and that the government used egregious tactics to take advantage of DeLorean while he was trying to save his car company. Hustler magazine publisher, Larry Flynt, was able to obtain the hidden camera video footage of the bogus drug deal. In another story, Flynt refused to disclose the identity of the party that provided the tape which was crucial to DeLorean’s defense.

Entrapment and Undercover Drug Deals

The police commonly use informants to penetrate criminal enterprises such as drug dealing. There are many other aspects of undercover drug deals which may support the defense of entrapment. The police use someone that is in trouble with the law and is promised leniency or credit in the criminal justice system for cooperation with the police. At some point, the snitch is usually required to introduce an undercover police officer to another party. The snitch and the undercover police officer engage the third party to engage in the delivery of drugs before being busted. The snitch’s job isn’t done until the police are satisfied, an important introduction is made or a drug bust is made involving a large quantity. We call this using the little fish to get the big fish.

Entrapment and Sex Crimes

Every single minute of every single day, individuals are caught up in sexual scams on the internet. Scams are introduced by diabolical criminals that pretend to be minor children. The ruse involves making someone send or request a nude photo or arrange a meeting with a minor child for sexual purposes. Once someone takes the bait, a new party is introduced that will threaten prosecution unless a large sum of money is paid. The money is requested by using a prepaid debit card such as MoneyPak.

The police also engage in internet activity within various websites and chat rooms while on the lookout for human trafficking, child pornography and child predators. In Macomb County, the Macomb Area Computer Enforcement unit (M.A.C.E.) is a task force assigned to investigate computer crimes such as computer fraud, identity theft, and child sexual exploitations.

A M.A.C.E. officer may set up a “pretend” profile of a child and operate in a chat room with a scripted situation that is intended to attract child predators. If a party is engaged and illegal sexual conduct (transferring/requesting child porn) or illegal sexual requests are made, the police may initiate an arrest or attempt to effectuate a meeting with the party at a predetermined location that is under police surveillance. There are several criminal charges that can arise in this scenario including:

In addition to criminal charges, all computers and devices that may contain illegal content are subject to seizure and will be used as evidence.

Entrapment and Soliciting a Prostitute: Detroit

Real prostitutes operate discreetly and are restricted in how they conduct themselves. They cannot openly work the streets or openly on the internet to solicit business without scrutiny by the police. The police do not have to deal with those obstacles when they set up a prostitution sting operation. The police can advertise the services of females on the internet or set up a sting operation by having a female police decoy act like a prostitute in a strategic location where vehicles are able to slow down and the driver take notice. The police decoy will be wearing a wire and under surveillance by nearby back-up officers. Once there is a verbal or nonverbal offer of money for sex, the party is arrested for solicitation of a prostitute and is taken into custody. The vehicle that is used by the suspect is subject to forfeiture with an opportunity to buy it back, pay towing and impound fees. This is the process that has been utilized for several years by the Detroit Police which has netted millions of dollars and continues to net several arrests every day except when it is snowing or raining!

Asserting Entrapment May Support a Not Guilty Verdict

ABDO LAW has earned every top rating for criminal defense services and has handled more criminal cases than any other law firm in Macomb County. Contact our firm for misdemeanor or felony representation and get the best results possible. Just because you are guilty does not mean that you will be found guilty!

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