Entrapment in Georgia
There are several instances where a person will not be found guilty of a crime even though was committed. One of those instances is in the case of entrapment. If demonstrated that the accused was engaged in entrapment, then they will not be guilty of the crime they are being charged with. If your or a loved one believe the entrapment defense applies to your case, contact The Law Office of Lawson and Berry. Our office has over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience and knows how to formulate and present your best case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
A person is not guilty of a crime if, by entrapment, his conduct is induced or solicited by a government officer or employee, or agent of either, for the purpose of obtaining evidence to be used in prosecuting the person for the commission of the crime.
Entrapment exists when the plan to commit a crime originated with a government officer or employee and he, by undue persuasion, incitement, or deceitful means, induced the accused to commit the act, which the accused would not have committed except for the conduct of such officer.
The theory behind entrapment defense is to deter government conduct that entices innocent persons to break the law.
What Constitutes Entrapment in Georgia?
In Georgia, entrapment has three distinct elements:
- The idea for the commission of the crime must originate with the state agent;
- The crime must be induced by the agent's undue persuasion, incitement or deceit; and
- The defendant must not be predisposed to commit the crime.
The majority view in Georgia is that the predisposition of the defendant toward the crime is the key element in this defense.
Raising the defense of entrapment means that the defendant must admit to the commission of the crime. There is no way to use the entrapment defense without admitting a crime was committed. Entrapment justifies the defendant's action in committing the crime.
Georgia Case Law
The defense of entrapment was not accepted in the case of Howell v. State, 157 Ga. App. 451, (1981). In this instance, the accused was charged with attempt to murder his wife. The facts showed that the accused sought out assistance from a man whom he thought was an assassin for hire who was actually a police officer. The police helped him formulate a plan to commit the intended offense. The husband was then arrested for criminal attempt to murder his wife, and he argued the defense of entrapment at trial. However, the Court rejected his argument stating that it does not constitute entrapment where a defendant approaches a police officer with an offer to commit a crime and that officer then plays a role in order to provide the defendant with an opportunity to commit the intended offense. In this case, the accused had the intent to commit the crime and acted with that intent. There was no inducement or enticement on behalf of the officer to get the man to commit the crime. Therefore, he was convicted of the attempt to commit murder and his defense of entrapment was denied.
A case where the defense of entrapment was successful can be found in Sherman v. United States. 356 U.S. 369, (1958). In this situation, the accused, Sherman, was being treated for narcotics addiction. He would meet at a doctor's office along with a government informant where they would share their attempts to overcome their addiction. After a period of time, the source began to ask Sherman where he could buy narcotics. Sherman avoided the issue at first, but after a many requests, he finally gave in and obtained drugs that he shared with the informant. The informant then notified the Bureau of Narcotics who arrested Sherman. During the trial, Sherman demonstrated that he had been trying to get clean and the informant had preyed upon him during this difficult time in his life. He explained that he was not trying to get back into doing drugs but was persuaded to by the informant. The Court agreed that Sherman was enticed to commit a crime and would not have committed the crime without the persistence of the informant. Therefore, he was acquitted of his conviction for sale of narcotics.
If you believe the defense of entrapment applies to your case, contact our offices today. Lawson and Berry have significant criminal defense experience and know how to demonstrate that you were entrapped. Don't believe that a charge is the same as a conviction. We can help! Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation and start preparing your defense.