Articles Posted in Entrapment Defense

Entrapment has been defined as the act of officers or agents of the government in inducing a person to commit a crime not contemplated by him, for the purpose of instituting a criminal prosecution against him. According to the generally accepted view, a law enforcement official, or an undercover agent acting in cooperation with such an official, perpetrates an entrapment when, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of a crime, he originates the idea of the crime and then induces another person to engage in conduct constituting such a crime when the other person is not otherwise disposed to do so. Sorrells v. U.S., 287 U.S. 435, 53 S.Ct. 210, 77 L.Ed. 413.

In order to use the entrapment defense in Massachusetts, some evidence of inducement that goes beyond a mere solicitation by a police officer or government agent must be presented at the criminal trial by the defense. Entrapment is a defense to be raised only at trial and is not presented by way of pretrial motion to dismiss. Once raised properly, the burden is then on the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was initially predisposed to commit the crime and was therefore “ready and willing to commit the crime whenever the opportunity might be afforded.” Commonwealth_v_Doyle_67_Mass_App_Ct_846_2006.

If the defendant on trial has a prior criminal history of distribution of drugs or possession with intent to distribute drugs then that history can be used by the prosecution to show that the person was already predisposed to commit the offense and thereby negate the defense of entrapment. See Commonwealth v. Vargas, 417 Mass. 792, 632 N.E.2d 1223 (1994).
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