Entrapment is a defense used mainly in drug trafficking and money laundering cases of all kinds both in state and federal court. Cocaine trafficking, marijuana trafficking and trafficking in oxycodone are crimes often charged in Miami-Dade County and throughout the South Florida area. While there are many defenses to drug trafficking cases, entrapment has always been a viable defense.
To raise and successfully win with the defense of entrapment, the defendant must prove that at the direction of government authorities, he or she engaged in criminal conduct as a direct result of inducement and encouragement, that the person who induced the crime to be committed employed methods of persuasion which created substantial risk that a the crime would be committed by a person other than one who was ready to commit it, and the defendant was not a person ready to commit the crime.
Entrapment will not be a viable defense if a defendant had the predisposition to commit the crime before he or she was induced by law enforcement or an agent of law enforcement persuaded, induced or lured him or her into committing the crime. The entrapment defense does not apply even if law enforcement provided the means, opportunity, or facilities to commit the offense; used tricks, decoys of subterfuge; or was present at the time of the offense and pretended to aid or assist in the commission of the offense, as long as the defendant was pre-disposed to commit the crime. Proof of a defendant's predisposition or lack thereof and the prosecution's evidence to refute the defense are key.
To prove entrapment, the defense must prove by the greater weight of the evidence that a law enforcement officer or agent of the department induced or encouraged the charged crime. Greater weight of the evidence is defined as that evidence which is more persuasive and convincing. If the defendant meets this burden of proof, the state must prove beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt that the defendant was pre-disposed to commit the crime. The state must also prove that the pre-disposition existed prior to any inducement or encouragement.
Informants and confidential informants ("CIs") are agents of law enforcement for the purposes of this defense. Miami criminal defense attorneys qualified to defend drug trafficking charges know that to utilize the defense of entrapment, they must many times file a motion to disclose the CI and argue the motion in court. The only way to determine the identity of the CI is to file a motion to disclose. Once the CI has been disclosed, his or her deposition must be taken with the goal of establishing an entrapment defense. If audio or video surveillance was taken during the illegal transaction, that evidence must be thoroughly reviewed to determine if anything done or said is an impediment to the entrapment defense.
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