What Does Entrapment Defense Mean ?
Entrapment occurs when a peace officer or a person directed by or acting in cooperation with the officer induces the commission of an offense in order to obtain evidence of the commission for prosecution by methods creating a substantial risk that the offense would be committed by one not otherwise ready to commit it. Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense does not constitute entrapment.
Entrapment is a "highly fact-intensive defense." See State v. J.D.W., 910 P.2d 1242, 1244 (Utah Ct. App. 1995). In State v. Taylor, 599 P.2d 496, 500 (Utah 1979), this court adopted an objective standard for entrapment cases, which focuses solely on police conduct, rather than on the defendant's predisposition to commit a crime. See also State v. Udell, 728 P.2d 131, 133 (Utah 1986).
To prove the defense of entrapment, the evidence must be sufficient to raise "a reasonable doubt that [the defendant] freely and voluntarily committed the offense." Udell, 728 P.2d at 132 (finding defendant was not entrapped when he sold cocaine to an undercover officer even though defendant had declined to sell cocaine to the same officer on two other occasions, noting that defendant had only declined to sell previously because he was not in possession of cocaine).
In the past, this court has found entrapment where the facts fit the following categories:
(1) inducement based on improper police conduct, see State v. Sprague, 680 P.2d 404, 406 (Utah 1984) (finding persistent pressure by an undercover officer may constitute entrapment), and State v. Kourbelas, 621 P.2d 1238, 1240 (Utah 1980) (finding entrapment where undercover officer initiated suggestion of drug purchase and persistently pursued defendant to buy drugs);
(2) "appeals based primarily on sympathy, pity, or close personal friendship, or offers of inordinate sums of money . . . ." Taylor, 599 P.2d at 503 (finding entrapment where defendant and informant lived together and had sexual relations for approximately three months prior to informant becoming involved with police); see also State v. Kaufman, 734 P.2d 465, 468 (Utah 1987) (finding entrapment where attractive undercover officer, pretending to be divorced mother of six children having hard times, induced defendant against his "initiative or desire" to buy what she claimed were stolen goods).