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How Does Kansas Law Address Entrapment as a Defense in Criminal Cases?

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What is Entrapment and How Can it Be Used As a Criminal Defense?

Entrapment is a legal defense used in criminal cases that posits that law enforcement officials induced or coerced the defendant to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. This defense is rooted in the principle that the government should not be allowed to manufacture crime. In Kansas, as in other jurisdictions, entrapment is recognized as an affirmative defense, meaning the defendant bears the burden of proving that entrapment occurred.

While entrapment can be a critical element of a comprehensive defense strategy, gathering the necessary evidence and presenting a compelling argument to the judge or jury requires extensive legal knowledge. You should always carefully weigh your defense options with the help of a legal advisor. An experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case to determine whether a public officer improperly influenced you to commit the crime in question and if an entrapment defense could be beneficial.

What Are Examples of Entrapment?

Entrapment occurs when a government agent, such as a police officer, uses coercion, threats, harassment, or fraud to induce someone to commit a crime. The key element is that the defendant would not have committed the crime but for the actions of the government agent. For instance, if an undercover officer threatens a person with harm unless they sell drugs, this could be considered entrapment. Similarly, if an officer repeatedly harasses a store manager to falsify financial records under the guise of needing money for their children, this could also be entrapment.

Entrapment by estoppel is another variety of entrapment that may be used as a legal defense in certain criminal cases. Unlike regular entrapment, entrapment by estoppel focuses on the actions of government officials rather than the defendant’s predisposition to commit a crime. Entrapment by estoppel occurs when a defendant reasonably relies on the advice or assurances of a government official that certain conduct is legal. The defendant then engages in that conduct in good faith, only to be prosecuted. However, the burden is on the defendant to provide conclusive evidence, such as letters, texts, emails, or other communications, that shows entrapment by estoppel occurred.

What Do Kansas’ Statutes Say About Entrapment?

Under K.S.A ยง 21-5208, entrapment is defined as inducing or persuading someone to commit a crime they were not predisposed to commit. The Kansas Supreme Court has held that entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials implant the idea of committing a crime in the mind of an innocent person and then induce them to commit the crime to prosecute them.

For entrapment to be a valid defense, the defendant must show that the government’s conduct created a high risk that the crime would be committed and that the perpetrator was not otherwise ready to commit it. A public officer merely providing an opportunity to commit a crime is insufficient for an entrapment defense. Instead, there must be clear evidence of coercion or undue persuasion by law enforcement or other government officials.

Why May it Be Difficult to Prove Entrapment Successfully?

Defendants in Kansas may face several challenges when asserting an entrapment defense. First, they must admit to committing the crime, which can be a significant risk. By admitting to the crime, the defendant places themselves at the mercy of the court’s interpretation of the entrapment claim. Second, the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the government’s actions were the primary cause of the crime. Proving this point often involves collecting substantial evidence to demonstrate the extent of the government’s coercion or inducement.

Another challenge is the subjective nature of the entrapment defense. Courts often consider the defendant’s predisposition to commit the crime. If it appears the defendant had a prior inclination or readiness to commit the crime, the entrapment defense is less likely to succeed. This subjective standard can be difficult to overcome, as it requires the defense to show that the defendant was not predisposed to commit the crime under any circumstances prior to their interaction with the government agent.

Why Is Consulting With an Attorney Recommended if You Are Considering an Entrapment Defense?

Given the complexities and challenges associated with the entrapment defense, it is crucial for defendants to enlist the assistance of an experienced defense lawyer. A skilled attorney can help gather the necessary evidence, such as recordings of interactions with law enforcement or testimony from witnesses, to support the entrapment claim. They can also effectively cross-examine law enforcement officials during a trial to expose any improper conduct or coercion that led to the commission of the crime.

An experienced lawyer can also help mitigate the risks associated with admitting to the crime. They can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or seek alternative resolutions that do not involve a full admission of guilt. Your attorney can also navigate your case’s legal requirements and deadlines and present a convincing argument to the court.

How Can Our Law Firm Assist You?

Entrapment is a recognized defense in Kansas criminal law, designed to protect individuals from being coerced or induced by government agents into committing crimes they would not have otherwise committed. While the defense can be challenging to prove, it serves as an essential check on law enforcement practices. Defendants must demonstrate that the government’s actions were the primary cause of the crime and that they were not predisposed to commit it.

Successfully asserting this defense typically requires careful legal strategy and considerable evidence. The assistance of a skilled attorney is indispensable in ensuring the entrapment claim is effectively explained to the court and your rights are protected throughout the legal process. If you have been charged with a crime and believe you may have an entrapment defense, contact Barnds Law LLC today at 913-514-0909 and schedule a strategy session with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

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