Undercover operations are necessary for law enforcement to gather evidence in criminal investigations. Undercover operations are generally sanctioned, but they become unethical when they include entrapping an individual. Under New Jersey law, entrapment is defined as coercing or luring a suspect into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. An undercover cop is more vulnerable to entrapment than an overt one.
Defendants in New Jersey should seek the advice of an experienced Jersey City criminal lawyer because of the difficulty of proving entrapment.
How Does Entrapment Happen?
The following are some situations that could lead to entrapment:
- After being repeatedly rebuffed, an undercover police officer keeps asking the same person to sell them drugs or contraband. The undercover agent takes advantage of the person’s addiction or financial desperation to make the transaction.
- A police officer employs threats or compulsion to get someone to commit a crime against their will. If the victim does not perform the desired criminal conduct, they may be threatened with the removal of their child from their care or the seizure of their property.
- To deceive someone into unwittingly breaking the law, a law enforcement official may make false assertions about the legality of an act, such as saying it is permissible to claim a tax deduction when the filer knows they do not qualify for it.
- When a target shows no interest in participating in a criminal act, an informant will persist in harassing them until they give in. Entrapment can occur when someone is badgered despite their protests.
What Different Forms of Entrapment Are There?
Entrapment is defined in two ways under New Jersey law:
- When a public official or their agent misrepresents the legality of an action to persuade a citizen to take it, they are committing a crime.
- A police officer or their agent influences a citizen to take action they otherwise would not take.
Can You Explain the Components of a Defense Against Entrapment?
The burden of proof is with the defendant when an affirmative defense such as entrapment is raised. For an entrapment defense to be accepted, it must be shown that all three of the following conditions are met:
- The individual accused of entrapment must work for a public law enforcement agency. On the other hand, they might have been helping out a public servant with their law enforcement duties.
- The defendant must have been persuaded or urged to commit a crime after the accuser made false statements.
- There must be overwhelming evidence that the defendant would not have committed the crime without the officer’s wrongdoing.
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.