Entrapment occurs when the government induces a person to commit a crime and then tries to punish the person for committing it. However, if a judge or jury believes that a suspect was predisposed to commit the crime anyway, the suspect may be found guilty even if a government agent suggested the crime and helped the defendant to commit it. Entrapment defenses are therefore especially difficult for defendants with prior convictions for the same type of crime.
Government agents entrap a person if three things occurred:
- First, the idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.
- Second, the government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.
- And third, the person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him.
On the issue of entrapment the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped by government agents.
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