When Does A Police Sting Operation Become Illegal?

Many Torrance police operations use decoys for prostitution stings and sting operations for drug crimes but when does the conduct cross the line. Well, according to the District Attorney’s own rules, a sting or decoy where a ruse is used to lure people in and commit crimes can be illegal in some cases.

Entrapment” is neither an immunity from arrest nor a bar to prosecution; instead it is a defense that may be asserted by a defendant at trial, and which he has the burden of proving to the jury by a preponderance of the evidence. People v. Sherow (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1296, 1307. In California courts (the federal doctrine is different), a defendant can escape conviction for a crime he in fact committed by proving that he did so in response to law enforcement conduct that was so overbearing it was “likely to induce a normally law-abiding person to commit the crime.” People v. Barraza (1979) 23 Cal.3d 675, 690. Defendant need not admit the crime to assert an entrapment defense, Id., at 692; and his criminal predisposition is irrelevant. Id., at 688-89. Entrapment must be raised at trial, not for the first time on appeal. People v. Pijal (1973) 33 Cal.App.3d 682, 692. “The law does not recognize a defense of vicarious entrapment.” People v. Vo (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 689, 695 (Officer pressures agent-A to get B to commit a crime, but A uses no pressure against B: no entrapment). However, if the agent does use overbearing techniques to induce a third party to commit a crime, the defense of entrapment lies. People v. McIntyre (1979) 23 Cal.3d 742, 747-748 (Officer does not pressure agent-A, but A pressures B to commit the crime: B is entrapped). In California, “We reject the doctrine of sentencing entrapment.” People v. Smith (2003) 31 Cal.4th 1207, 1216 (OK for undercover agent to supply enough drugs to invoke enhancement).

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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