One of the points we made in our last post is that law enforcement officials have a great deal of resources at their disposal to investigate crime. Police not only have the ability to question suspects and search vehicles and homes, but also to go undercover, monitor internet activities, and wiretap phone lines. All of this, of course, in an effort to gather evidence of criminal activity.
With certain offenses, it can be more challenging for officers to directly gather evidence of the crime in question. This is particularly the case with prostitution and soliciting sex with a minor. Undercover investigations, as readers know, play an important role in police investigations of certain sex crimes.
One of the potential issues in these investigations is whether or not entrapment was at play. In cases where law enforcement is particularly assertive, it can happen that officers set up the conditions for an offense that would not otherwise have occurred.
Entrapment refers to a legal defense in which the defendant contends that law enforcement agents effectively persuaded him or her to commit a crime. The defense can be difficult to prove, but it involves situations where the individual ends up committing a crime they would not have committed if they hadn’t been induced to do so.
The logic behind the entrapment defense is that it isn’t proper for police officers to create a scenario where a crime will occur. Police may, of course, set up a scenario to which offenders may be attracted, but actually inducing criminal activity is counterproductive and unfair.
We’ll continue this discussion in our next post.