Entrapment is one of the many defenses available to a criminal defendant. Entrapment occurs when a law enforcement officer, a person engaged in cooperation with law enforcement, or a person acting as an agent of law enforcement either induces or encourages another person to engage in conduct that constitutes a crime with the purpose of obtaining evidence of the crime. This conduct employed by law enforcement or its agents will create a substantial risk that a crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it. It is important to note that the criminal design must have originated with law enforcement and the defendant must not have been predisposed to commit the criminal defense.
If you or someone you love has been arrested and/or charged following an officers enticing you to commit a crime that you were not other wise predisposed to commit you should speak to a criminal defense attorney. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorneys at The William Moore Law Firm not only deliver years of knowledge and experience but also provides legal representation that is steadfast fueled by determination. Contact us for immediate legal answers and legal representation. Click Criminal Lawyers Broward County for more information.
The evidentiary standard used to determine if an individual was entrapped, is the preponderance of evidence standard. Which means, it is more likely than not, that the criminal conduct occurred as a result of the entrapment. If the defendant is able to meet the burden of proof, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was predisposed to the commit the criminal offense. The State must also prove that the defendant’s predisposition to commit the criminal offense existed prior to and independent of the law enforcement inducement or encouragement.
Hernandez v. State
In Hernandez v. State, the Defendant was a cocaine addict who admittedly spent $80-120 every other day on cocaine. He also admitted that he used ecstasy, marijuana, and other narcotics. In order to supplement his regular employment and finance his expensive addiction, Defendant admitted to selling marijuana to earn extra income of $100 per week. In 2007, Defendant was contacted by a confidential informant who asked for Defendant’s help in buying a large quantity of either cocaine or heroin. Defendant told the informant four to five times that he did not want to participate because of the risk involved in such a large transaction. The informant then offered Defendant a large portion of the cocaine from the transaction and Defendant subsequently agreed. His testimony reflects that he agreed to participate because of his addiction and desire to obtain a portion of the cocaine for personal use. Defendant contacted a seller and negotiated the purchase of one kilo of cocaine. Both seller and Defendant were arrested. Defendant was convicted of cocaine trafficking.
At the trial court level, the defense attorney court asked that the court apply the objective test for entrapment that was adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in 1958. The objective test focuses on whether there was outrageous government conduct that would result in a violation of Defendant’s due process rights. Defense counsel advocated that this was the objective test was proper because the law enforcement officials knew that defendant was a cocaine addict. The prosecution improperly advocated the trial court to apply the subjective test for entrapment which was adopted by the Florida Supreme Court in 1987 which focuses on the predisposition to commit the crime. The trial court did in-fact apply the subjective test.
Munoz v. State
In Munoz v. State, the Florida Supreme Court held that although the state legislature had the authority to adopt the subjective test, the legislature could not overrule the Florida or federal constitutional right of due process. The Florida Supreme Court held that the in the absence of egregious law enforcement conduct, the subjective test was to be applied. However, if law enforcement engaged in egregious conduct, then the entrapment defense must be evaluated under the due process provision set forth in Florida Constitution in Article I, section 9.
The appellate court rejected Defendant’s argument that enticing drug addict in participating in an illicit drug sale constitutes a per se violation of due process. Instead, the appellate court held that a court must evaluate all relevant circumstances as to determine whether conduct so offends decency or a sense of justice that judicial power may not be exercised to obtain a conviction. The appellate remanded to the lower court with instruction to apply the objective test to appropriately determine if a due process violation had occurred.
For more information about this type of case contact:
Defense Attorney William R. Moore (954) 523-5333