Although the entrapment defense against a charge of bribery is considered to be largely ineffective by many lawyers, it is nonetheless quite capable of leading to an acquittal. For recent cases, the collapsed trial of former Representative Ray Frias has shown that it is quite possible for an effective lawyer to make use of this unique defense strategy.
The defense in this case was so unlikely that other parties to the trial, including Lawrence Bloom, considered it to be a model for their own trials. Nevertheless, it is imperative that defendants think carefully before choosing this option.
For a start, it requires a complete confession and admission of the material facts in the case. For a politician, that can spell political doom since opponents will have a pre-prepared oppositional research statement from the admission.
Knowing When and How to Make Use of the Entrapment Defense
As a starting point, no admissions should ever be made without the express permission and advice of the lawyer handling the case. The courts in Chicago may not accept the excuse that the defendant did not really know what they were admitting to or what it entailed.
The onus is on the defendant to carefully screen and interrogate their attorneys in order to ensure that they get excellent representation. It is important to read the indictment carefully before confessing to it in order to make use of the entrapment defense.
You cannot reverse this strategy once it has commenced. For example, the superior courts will not overturn the trial judge merely on the basis that the defendant subsequently withdrew his entrapment defense upon being convicted. In other words, you get one bite of the cherry.
The View of the Legal Minds
According to Professor Albert Alschuler of the University of Chicago, it is natural that defendants in a case that has been changed by this entrapment defense will want to make use of it, as well. The burden of proof is quite high in terms of showing that the accuser set out to tempt the accused into committing a crime for purposes of getting a prosecution in any way possible.
Specifically, the inducement must be made by or on behalf of the state (government in some jurisdictions). There can be complications when the person who is counter-accused of entrapment is a government official but acting outside the authority that has been granted to them.
Reasoning Behind the Defense
This defense was designed to keep in check the abuse of the prosecution process in order to either punish someone who the state does not like for other reasons or to preemptively incarcerate people that the police speculate might commit crimes in the future. This was proved in the scandal that was popularly referred to as the Operation Silver Shovel case.
The government was using an ex-convict, John Christopher, as a mole in order to solicit criminal activities. This was a measure designed to capture trapped officials, but the manner in which it was carried out ended up killing the case for the prosecution. The government was accused of creating instead of preventing criminal activities.
Further charges may be levied against those who have been soliciting crime unless they have been granted immunity or are under a legitimate covert operation. Whistleblowers can also be protected from prosecution via this route. If you are interested or need support in mounting this defense, contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at telephone number 312-560-7100. An experienced attorney will guide you through the basics of the law in this area.
(image courtesy of Aidan Bartos)