The Entrapment Defense in Michigan: What You Need to Know
If you face criminal charges, you must understand what is happening and why. When police or law enforcement officers push someone into committing a crime, the charge should be dismissed.
When Law Enforcement Officers Create Crime, Defense Lawyers Must Fight to Protect Clients Who Have Been Manipulated
In criminal law, entrapment is when a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a criminal offense that the person would not ordinarily commit. If police or law enforcement agents induce someone to commit a crime they were not predisposed to commit, they are innocent. Entrapment is a complete and total defense resulting in a dismissal or not guilty verdict. Few Michigan criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience and a track record of success with the Michigan entrapment defense.
The valid entrapment defense in federal and state court has two elements:
(1) government inducement of the crime, and
(2) the accused’s lack of predisposition to engage in the crime.
The rationale of entrapment is to deter law enforcement from inducing people, not already considering the commission of a crime, to engage in criminal activity. Some deception on behalf of the police is legal and acceptable under state and federal law. However, the police cannot entice a person to commit a crime they are not inclined to commit. If the person is planning or willing to commit a crime and the police just supplied the opportunity, that is not entrapment.
Michigan Defense Lawyer Defending Against Entrapment
Most states require a defendant to raise the defense of entrapment. Entrapment is not a constitutional defense; it is statutory and unavailable in all states. Michigan allows for a defense lawyer to raise the issue of entrapment on a felony or misdemeanor. Studies show that judges and jurors are reluctant to entertain an entrapment defense. Successful lawyers employing the entrapment defense in Michigan know what it takes to present a compelling case and persuade a judge or jury to see that police use improper tactics to coerce or trick someone into committing a crime.
Factors for Considering a Michigan Entrapment Defense
- If law enforcement officers appealed to the defendant’s sympathy,
- If the defendant has committed similar offenses before,
- If there was a long delay between the investigation and the arrest,
- If inducements, such as cash rewards or free drugs, were offered and would make the commission of a crime highly tempting to a law-abiding citizen,
- If there were offers of excessive consideration or another enticement (for example, $100.00 for a single joint),
- If there was a guarantee that the acts alleged as crimes were not illegal,
- If there were any threats of arrest or removal of children as inducements for the individual to commit a crime,
- If there existed any government procedures that tended to escalate the criminal guilt of the defendant (typically increasing drug amounts over multiple drug deliveries),
- If the investigation was targeted to get evidence against a particular person,
- If there were threats against the person or those important to them as an inducement.
State vs. Federal Entrapment Defense
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. fights for clients in state and federal court daily. Like state law enforcement agencies, some federal agents are just as susceptible to the “ends justify the means” mentality. Federal judges and prosecutors are reluctant to find federal agents accountable for overreaching tactics, even when someone’s constitutional rights are violated. It takes a persuasive and influential defense lawyer to effectively utilize the entrapment defense at the United States District Court. The elements of entrapment are the same under Michigan and federal law. Common federal crimes where entrapment is used include the following:
Drug Delivery Charges, Child Sexual Abusive Activity, and Soliciting a Prostitute
Some rogue police officers and federal agents use questionable and sometimes illegal tactics. Entrapment is often used in:
- drug delivery felony cases,
- child sexually abusive activity, and
- solicitation of a prostitute.
Drug Delivery Charges Due to Michigan Entrapment
In drug cases, officers often push drug users to sell tiny quantities of controlled substances in exchange for a small amount of money to support their drug addiction. Most drug users are not predisposed to sell cocaine, meth, ecstasy, prescription meds, and other controlled substances; however, officers have perfected tactics for persuading users into engaging in small sales and, thus, felony delivery charges. In these cases, the defendant is not guilty and can use entrapment as a complete defense.
Child Sexually Abusive Activity or Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes
Police stings involving officers posing online as minors are often used by federal and state law enforcement agencies. Because crimes against “children” are so offensive, law enforcement officers can easily fall into the “ends justify the means” mentality. For example, officers will post an ad on an adult website using a picture of a young adult woman. They get the suspect to talk about various tantalizing sexual activities and arrange for a meeting. After the suspect is “on the line,” the undercover officer claims they are a teenager and push the suspect to continue with the plans of meeting up. Even when the suspect tries to call off the plan, the undercover officer keeps pushing and manipulating by appealing to the person’s prurient interest. The officer will utilize advanced sexual knowledge and terminology to chip away at any moral conflict. Ultimately, when the often confused and conflicted suspect shows up at the designated location, they are arrested and charged with Child Sexual Abusive Activity, Accosting a Child for Immoral Purposes, and Using a Computer to Commit a Crime. In many of these cases, the suspect would never have even dreamed of harming a child, but the officers use expert tactics to keep pushing the person and compelling them to come to a meeting location.
Solicitation of a Prostitute
Police use undercover female officers to act as prostitute decoys in jurisdictions throughout Michigan. Entrapment-type investigations are often used in solicitation cases in Detroit, Michigan. It is not uncommon for a man to ask a female undercover officer for directions, and officers falsely claim he was soliciting her for sex. The Detroit City Attorney, and other prosecutors in Michigan, utilize heavy-handed laws with mandatory jail time to coerce and force innocent men into accepting criminal convictions, jail, and probation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some examples of entrapment?
Examples of entrapment include a police officer doing any of the following:
- claims they don’t have any money and will die if you don’t sell your prescription drugs to them,
- harassing someone via phone, mail, etc., to shoplift a laptop for their school studies because they are failing school and will be kicked out of college,
- threatening to expose a person’s love affair if they don’t sell drugs or commit an assault, and
- giving a drug dealer a package of “marijuana” to deliver but intentionally providing them fentanyl to increase the severity of the crime.
What is the Michigan entrapment defense?
Entrapment is a defense to criminal accusations because the defendant only committed the offense due to government harassment or compulsion. The crime would not have been committed if there had been no coercion.
What are the elements of entrapment?
A valid entrapment defense has two related elements: (1) government inducement of the crime and (2) the defendant’s lack of predisposition to engage in the criminal conduct.
What happens if entrapment is proven?
The judge or jury must find the defendant not guilty if he can prove entrapment by a preponderance of the evidence (a less stringent standard than reasonable doubt).
What’s considered entrapment?
When police officers pressure or convince someone to commit a crime, this is known as entrapment.
Is entrapment illegal in the United States?
Entrapment isn’t illegal, but it’s also not permitted. A person who was entrapped is entitled to a “not guilty” verdict at trial.
What are the different types of entrapment?
Entrapment occurs most often in the following cases:
- Drug crimes
- Internet crimes
- Child pornography
- Solicitation of a minor
- Soliciting a prostitute
Is entrapment a legal defense in Michigan?
Entrapment is a legal and complete defense to a charge if the judge or jury finds it truthful and reasonable.
Is entrapment a constitutional defense?
Entrapment is not a legal concept in the United States Constitution. It is a recognized criminal law defense against police overreach in all states and federal courts.
Highly Experienced Detroit Area Criminal Lawyers Using Entrapment and All Other Defenses Permitted Under the Law
When you are facing criminal charges, it is scary. Things move quickly, and things are said that can be confusing and easy to misunderstand. Before anything is said or happens that might hurt you and your situation, it is crucial that you get the best legal representation available. You must protect yourself when your freedom is at stake.
The Detroit area criminal lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are proven fighters! They are well respected and have an impressive record of success against state and federal prosecutions. We take our obligation to our clients very seriously. We take the time to get to know you and treat you like family. Our defense lawyers have vast experience successfully defending clients using entrapment and all other defenses available under the law. Call us right away for a free consultation, and we will take the time to speak with you, answer your questions, and address your concerns.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.