A commonly used defense in California drug sales, illegal gambling and prostitution cases is entrapment. Entrapment is a defense that the person engaged in unlawful conduct due to the coercion or pressure from a law enforcement officer. To be a successful defense, the person must not be predisposed to committing the illegal act being charged and there must be actual harassment, fraud or pressure directed by law enforcement towards the person charged.
Entrapment is a frequently used in situations where an undercover officer asks to buy drugs or solicit from a person who obliges and are subsequently charged with the sale of drugs or prostitution. If the entrapment defense is successful, then any evidence obtained is excluded from trial. This is what is referred to as the exclusionary rule.
For example, let’s discuss a situation where Person A is a law abiding citizen. He is a family man, is a high paying vice president of a large corporation job and has never been arrested or charged with any criminal offense besides several unpaid parking tickets. Person A is approached by an officer and asked to sell him some heroin. Person A refuses and explains that he is not the person to talk to, and he wouldn’t know where to obtain any illegal controlled substances. The officer insists, and begins to call and appear at places Person A is with his family. After repeatedly asking for a week, the officer calls up Person A and tells him that he will have Person A sent to jail for unpaid parking tickets and will personally assure that he serves jail time if he doesn’t comply with the officer’s demands. Person A, afraid of jeopardizing his job agrees and obtains the heroin. The officer immediately reports Person A and has him charged for felony drug possession. As evidence the officer presents pictures and recorded conversations of Person A obtaining the heroin from a known drug dealer and transferring it over to the officer.