In our last post, we began speaking about the issue of entrapment, which is a legal defense that can be asserted in situations where an individual is induced to commit a crime during the course of a police investigation. Here we wanted to offer a couple more comments on the issue.
Maryland case law has established that a defendant who wants to assert the entrapment defense has to establish that they were induced to commit the offense by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the defendant must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that law enforcement persuaded him or her to commit the crime for which he or she is being charged.
Prosecutors, faced with the defense of entrapment, can overcome that defense by proving beyond a reasonable doubt that persuasion was not a factor in the commission of the offense since the defendant had a predisposition to commit the crime. For prosecutors, the goal is to prove that investigating officers acted in good faith to discover criminal activity, only provided an opportunity for a crime to occur, and that the defendant already had the required criminal intent.
Defendants who believe prosecutors do not have enough evidence to prove this point are able to file for a motion of acquittal. If such a motion is denied, instructions on the entrapment defense may be provided to the jury.
Those who are facing criminal charges stemming from an investigation they feel may have involved entrapment should work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure their rights are protected throughout the criminal process. Entrapment is not an easy defense to assert, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney in navigating the process of asserting the defense.