Entrapment Defense in Florida

Entrapment is used in criminal proceedings when the accused has been induced by law enforcement to commit a crime that he/she was not predisposed to commit.  It is based on the idea that is it is fundamentally unjust for law enforcement or other government agents to originate a criminal design, implant in an innocent person’s mind the disposition to carry out that criminal design, and then induce commission of the crime so that a prosecution may take place. State v. Perez, 438 So. 2d 436, 438 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983).

There are two types of entrapment recognized in Florida law-subjective and objective entrapment.  Both will lead to a Not Guilty verdict is successfully argued in court.  The relevant statute (777.201) states the following:

1) A law enforcement officer, a person engaged in cooperation with a law enforcement officer, or a person acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer perpetrates an entrapment if, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.

(2) A person prosecuted for a crime shall be acquitted if the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her criminal conduct occurred as a result of an entrapment. The issue of entrapment shall be tried by the trier of fact.
Objective entrapment concerns cases in which law enforcement’s conduct is considered egregiously unfair and prejudicial.  In one case example, the Fourth District Court of Appeals wrote, “where the government supplies all of the instrumentalities of a crime, controls all of its aspects, and teaches the intended target how to commit the crime for the purpose of arresting him, as the trial court found here, there is no crime at all without the government involvement. No legitimate objective of government is accomplished by prosecuting a crime so totally and completely orchestrated by the government. We conclude that this activity violates due process.”
Entrapment defenses ensure fair play and justice when the bad behavior of law enforcement leads to an arrest of an otherwise innocent person.


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