The defense of entrapment has two elements: “(1) government inducement of the crime and (2) the defendant's lack of predisposition to engage in the criminal conduct.” United States v. Ray, 367 Fed. Appx. 478, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 4068 (4th Cir. Md. 2010) (citing United States v. Ramos, 462 F.3d 329, 334 (4th Cir. 2006)). The defense uses a burden-shifting scheme, where the defendant bears the initial burden of presenting evidence that the government induced him to commit the crime. Once the defendant has done so, the burden shifts to the government to establish the defendant's predisposition beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. (citing United States v. Jones, 976 F.2d 176, 179 (4th Cir. 1992)). “Inducement . . . involves elements of government overreaching and conduct sufficiently excessive to implant a criminal design in the mind of an otherwise innocent party…Mild forms of persuasion are not inducement …but certain kinds of persuasion or appeals to sympathy can be considered inducement for purposes of an entrapment defense.” United States v. Hines, 50 Fed. Appx. 130, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 23239 (4th Cir. N.C. 2002) (citations omitted).
If your case involved a sting operation, you may have an entrapment defense. See Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. 369, 78 S. Ct. 819 (U.S. 1958) (“The function of law enforcement is the prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminals. Manifestly, that function does not include the manufacturing of crime. Criminal activity is such that stealth and strategy are necessary weapons in the arsenal of the police officer. However, ‘A different question is presented when the criminal design originates with the officials of the Government, and they implant in the mind of an innocent person the disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order that they may prosecute.'”)(internal citations omitted). Harris & Carmichael has the knowledge and expertise to vigorously assert your entrapment defense. Contact us today for a free consultation to evaluate your case and to assess whether you have a viable entrapment defense.