How Do the Police Avoid Entrapment when Conducting a Sting Operation?
Interviewer: Can you explain the primary defenses to prostitution charges that are frequently utilized, such as entrapment and mistake? How do the police avoid entrapment in their undercover operations here in Johnson County Kansas?
Paul: In my opinion as a somewhat liberal defense lawyer, I think most operations absolutely are entrapment.
Entrapment Is Defined as Encouraging an Individual to Perform an Activity They Normally Would Not
However, case law will define entrapment as law enforcement creating a situation wherein the defendant is encouraged to do something that the defendant ordinarily would not have done.
Unfortunately, many courts have found that these types of law enforcement sting operations are not entrapment because courts have decided that the defendant’s willingness to contact the service providers, which is the law enforcement officer, and then arrive at the location constitute a manifestation of the defendant’s pre-existing intent or willingness to engage in the prohibited conduct.
In Disallowing a Claim of Entrapment, the Courts Decide That Evidence Exists of an Individual’s Predisposition to Commit the Act
Courts have found that the defendant’s willingness to contact the service provider and to arrive at the meeting location is evidence of the person’s predisposition to commit the act. It’s not as though the person is doing something that they were not ordinarily or otherwise predisposed to do. In my opinion, I think it really smacks of entrapment, but the courts will say that the defendant in the sting operation is simply doing that which he was already predisposed to do.
Attorney Cramm Believes the New legislation in Kansas Concerning Prostitution Offenses Will Lead to More Cases going to Trial Incorporating the Entrapment Defense
The Kansas legislature recently enacted a very broadly worded statute, and they have significantly enhanced the penalties if convicted. I do think that we are going to see a greater percentage of these cases actually go to trial. Prostitution Offenses in Kansas are governed by K.S.A. 21-6419 – Selling Sexual Relations; K.S.A. 21-6420 – Promoting the Sale of Sexual Relations; and K.S.A. 21-6421 – Buying Sexual Relations.
Previously, the penalty provision was less serious. When there was less at stake, I think it was more common for many individuals caught in the sting operations to simply accept an offer of diversion or accept a plea offer to make the case go away quietly.
Now, that they’ve really upped the ante for this type of offense, I do think that more individuals who are facing these charges will elect to have their case tried, in which circumstances I think these types of defenses are going to be significant.
I think in many of these cases, defenses of entrapment may carry the day. I think it’s all going to depend upon the actual word for word dialogue that’s exchanged between the undercover officer and the suspect.
It Will Be up to the Courts in Kansas to Decide If Some Charges Were the Result of Entrapment
Interviewer: In my mind, as a civilian who doesn’t know the law, I would think that yes, I would just be able to say I came here for a massage, but then, you’ve got an undercover officer who’s actually taking it a step further.
Paul: I agree completely, and from a legal standpoint as a lawyer, I am very eager to have a couple of my clients, hopefully in the near future, tell me to set their case for trial. That was not my intent. I want to go to trial because I think it would be good to make courts and judges wrestle with these issues.
Typically, Many Individuals Prefer Not to Try This Type of Case Due to the Stigma of Shame Associated with the Charge
I think that based upon the social stigma about this type of offense, many defendants are less enthusiastic about having their cases tried. There’s an embarrassment factor there. There’s a little shame factor there. There’s a little ‘immorality’ there that people want to keep their heads down, cover their face and get through the system as quickly and quietly as they can. I also have many clients who are married and do not want their arrest to become a topic of conversation with their spouse.
Attorney Cramm Strongly Believes That Prostitution-Related Charges are Defensible
I’m very eager for someone to say no, I want to try my case. I did not ask for sexual activity, and I am not going to plead guilty to something that I didn’t do.
Call today for an initial consultation to discuss your case: (913) 322-3265. I represent clients accused of prostitution throughout the Kansas City Metro area including the municipalities of Johnson County, Kansas: De Soto, Gardner, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Shawnee.
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