The practice of entrapment facilitates the apprehension of criminals. The state employs a secret agent to gather evidence by posing as a criminal. The entrapment defense applies only if the law enforcement personnel have a lack of evidence to prove criminal’s guilty. The government agents model a situation that induces an offender to act (Carlan et al., 2011). According to the entrapment rule, government agents should not come up with a plan that causes a person, who had no prior intent, to commit a crime and then go ahead to ensure that a person is prosecuted for the crime (Carmen et al., 2012).
Hampton v. the United States
Facts: Hampton was convicted of distributing heroin in violation of federal law. The conviction arose according to the fact of heroin distribution by Hampton to agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The sales were arranged by an acquaintance of Hampton, who was also a DEA informant. Hampton claimed to the entrapment, stating that he did not know that he was dealing with heroin. He added that the acquaintance, who was also a government informant, supplied all the drugs that he had sold.
Issues: Is there entrapment when a government informant supplies heroin to a suspect, who then sells it to government agents? No.
Decision: There was no entrapment here because the government informant supplied heroin to a suspect, who had the predisposition to commit the crime.
Reasoning: The entrapment defense applies only if the accused had no disposition to engage in the criminal act, but was induced to do so by government agents, who implanted that disposition for the purposes of prosecution.
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Dissenting opinions: The decision was shocking and widely viewed as an outrageous act for an informant to supply an illegal substance to an accused, who then sells it to a government agent. The concerns arose because the defendant was presented with an illegal drug and yet there was no entrapment defense.
The United States v. Russell
Facts: Russell and two other individuals were indicted and convicted of illegally manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, a prohibited drug. Shapiro, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, had met earlier with the accused criminals and told them that he represented a group desiring to obtain control of the manufacture and sale of the drug. Shapiro offered to supply them with Phenyl-2-propanone, a chemical required to manufacture methamphetamine. In return, Shapiro wanted to receive one-half of the revenue from the manufacture and distribution. Shapiro later received his share and bought the remainder from Russell. There was testimony at the trial that Phenyl-2-propanone was generally difficult to obtain. Some chemical supply firms had voluntarily ceased to supply the chemical in consideration to the request of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. On appeal, Russell accepted that the jury could have found him liable concerning the offences with which he was charged, but argued he was a victim of entrapment.
Held: Government entrapment exists if government agents originate a criminal situation and incites a person to commit a crime. Moreover, the government has the burden of proving beyond any doubts that the defendant had the intention to engage in the unlawful act of which he or she is accused.
Issues: Did the act by the undercover government agent of providing an essential chemical for the manufacture of a prohibited drug constitute entrapment? No.
Decision: The Supreme Court’s ruling was that the act by a government agent to supply one of the key components for the manufacture a prohibited drug did not constitute entrapment.
Reasoning: The ruling is centered on the defendant’s predisposition to commit the alleged act rather than on the act of Shapiro providing the ingredient for the manufacture of the illegal drug.
Dissenting opinions: The court implies that there may be conduct by the government that may entrap a person who is predisposed to commit a crime. However, the court did not give any example of that type of prohibited government conduct.
Sherman v. the United States
Facts: A government informant met Sherman in a clinic, where both were undergoing treatment for drug addiction. On several subsequent chance meetings, the informant asked Sherman if he knew a source of drugs. Sherman avoided the issue, but after several requests, he offered to supply narcotics. Sherman supplied the informant with the drugs for a cost plus expenses. The informant notified the FBI agents of the transaction and set up narcotics deals on three more occasions, which agents observed. Sherman was arrested, tried and convicted of drug offences.
Issues: Were the actions of the government informant such that they induced Sherman to commit crimes that he would not have engaged in under normal circumstances, resulting in entrapment? Yes.
Decisions: The Supreme Court ruled that there is entrapment when the government induces an individual to participate in an unlawful act, which under normal circumstances, he or she would have kept way from attempting.
Reasoning: Through the acts of the government informer, an individual who has resolved to avoid narcotics is lured into undertaking their illegal sale exposed to factors that may lead to the habit of use. Once the informant ensures that the individual in question is fully involved in the plan, he notifies state agents. Without even considering how the informant and Sherman became acquaintances, the agents accept the setup and perceive Sherman as a drug dealer. The government acts on an innocent person and lures him to commit a crime that he would not have participated under normal conditions.
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Dissenting opinions: The accused bears the burden of proving entrapment. The question of whether the defendant was entrapped is a matter of fact, not law. Therefore, it was a matter for the jury to deliberate. It is difficult to prove predisposition on the accused part since there is no measure of willingness.
In the assignment case, the man seemed to have a predisposition to act inappropriately.
He would have actually committed the crime even without inducement. Therefore, the defendant has no valid grounds for entrapment defense. There are two elements in any valid entrapment defense. The first element is an inducement of the crime, which is a government’s act. The second element is the lack of inclination by the defendant to engage in an unlawful act (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Legal Center (U.S.) 2009).
The man’s action of signaling and handing over the money betrays his inclination to engage in a criminal act. In addition, the statements that he makes sufficiently expose his misdemeanor since he asks for the price after being shown the drug. This is in reference to the Hampton v. United States (1976) case where the Supreme Court ruled that there was no entrapment justification. Though entrapment is phenomenal with drug scenarios, providing an opportunity for someone to commit a felony is similar in circumstance to entrapment. However, the latter seems to be a little bit incriminating. Analysts have argued that the predisposition test bars a defendant from ever utilizing the entrapment defense if they have prior convictions (Pollock and Klotter, 2009).