Do you believe your arrest came by way of entrapment?
"Entrapment" is a solid defense to a criminal charge. Basically, entrapment means that a police officer or government official, usually undercover, has convinced a person to commit a crime that they most likely would not have committed in any other scenario. In my more than twenty-five years as a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, I have served several clients who were victims of entrapment and were basically used by police to get to someone else. This is against the law, but police do it all the time anyway and call it "good police work." Crimes associated with entrapment often deal with drugs and if the amount of drugs is enough, that suspect can end up seeing a long jail sentence and tens of thousands in fines. Let’s say you live on the outskirts of Pittsburgh in a small town, such as Perryopolis or Sewickley, where there is one local bar and grille frequented by most of the neighborhood. If an officer would sit outside of that bar or in front of the nearest stop sign waiting to pull someone over in the off chance they have been drinking at that bar, this is technically not entrapment. Actually, it’s legal the same way a DUI checkpoint is legal. Entrapment happens when a cop talks someone in to breaking the law, and then arrests them for it. Here’s an example: An officer is called to the scene of a possible hunting violation. The officer shows up and questions the hunter. All signs point to a legal kill of a buck during buck season-no laws broken. When the officer asks to see the hunter’s ID, however, the officer notices that it is a state ID and not a driver’s license. Not wanting to leave empty-handed after the long haul out to game land, the officer gives the hunter a ride back to the hunter’s home and tells him he’ll have an easier time retrieving the deer from the woods if the hunter uses his own pick-up truck. Reluctant to ignore the cop’s polite gesture, the hunter hops in his truck and heads down the road to pick up the deer. On the way there, the hunter is pulled over by the cop. This may be considered entrapment. This may seem likely a ridiculously coincidental occurrence; however, this is an actual scenario that played out in Central PA just a few years ago. Another example happened more recently at a high school in the United States. A female undercover police officer was assigned to a local high school to infiltrate a drug ring. One young man took a strong liking to the undercover cop and she reciprocated his feelings. After some time, the teen thought he had fallen in love with the woman. The officer used this to her advantage to have the boy buy marijuana from a suspected dealer. The boy was an honors student who never used marijuana, but thought he could get the woman to fall for him if he bought pot for her. He did and she arrested him. Now, the young man faces a criminal record and he hasn’t even graduated from high school yet. To me, this is a travesty and the officer should lose her badge. If you have questions about entrapment or feel you were arrested after being entrapped, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson for a free consultation at 412-219-6875.