2.7-4 Entrapment -- § 53a-15
Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified May 20, 2011)
The evidence in this case raises the issue of the defense of entrapment. The statute defining entrapment reads in pertinent part as follows:
in any prosecution for an offense, it shall be a defense that the defendant engaged in the proscribed conduct because (he/she) was induced to do so by a public servant, or by a person acting in cooperation with a public servant, for the purpose of institution of criminal prosecution against the defendant, and that the defendant did not contemplate and would not otherwise have engaged in such conduct.
Entrapment exists only if the defendant was not predisposed to committing the crime at issue. If the criminal intent or the willing disposition to commit the crime originates in the mind of the defendant and the criminal offense is completed, it is no defense that the opportunity is furnished or the defendant is aided in the commission of the crime in order to secure the evidence necessary to prosecute the defendant. On the other hand, it is entrapment if the criminal design originates in the mind of the government agent or police officer and the defendant is induced into the commission of the offense when the defendant would not have committed it except for the urging of the officer or government agent.
The vital factor in determining if there has been an entrapment is whether the defendant was induced by the urging of a governmental agent or police officer to commit a crime that the defendant would not otherwise have committed. Inducement means more than a simple request by a government agent or police officer to break the law. There is a clear distinction between inducing a person to commit a crime and setting the stage to catch that person in the execution of criminal designs of the person's own volition. If officers of the law induce an innocent person to commit a crime that that person would not otherwise commit, it is entrapment and a defense to the crime charged.
It is for you to determine, on the basis of all the evidence, whether the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it did not induce the defendant to commit the offense with which the defendant is charged. If you unanimously find that the state has proved all the elements of the crime of <insert name of offense> beyond a reasonable doubt, and has disproved the claim of entrapment beyond a reasonable doubt, you must return a verdict of guilty on this count. If you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove any one or more of the elements of the crime of <insert name of offense>, or failed to disprove the claim of entrapment, you must return a verdict of not guilty on this count.
General Statutes § 53a-15 codifies Connecticut's prior case law on entrapment, and adopts the subjective standard of the defense, as have most states and the federal courts. State v. Lee, 229 Conn. 60, 81 (1994). "The subjective test of entrapment focuses on the disposition of the defendant to commit the crime of which he or she is accused." Id., 78. "[T]he subjective defense of entrapment succeeds only if the government, not the accused, is the source of the criminal design. The subjective defense fails if the accused is previously disposed to commit the crime, and the government merely facilitates or assists in the criminal scheme." Id., 79. See generally State v. McNally, 173 Conn. 197, 200-202 (1977); State v. Fine, 159 Conn. 296, 299 (1970); State v. Wilder, 128 Conn. App. 750, 753-61, cert. denied, 301 Conn. 934 (2011); State v. Nero, 122 Conn. App. 763, 783-94 (2010).
To warrant an instruction on
entrapment, the defendant must produce evidence of both inducement and lack of
criminal disposition. State v. Hawkins, 173 Conn. 431, 436 (1977);
State v. Capozziello, 21 Conn. App. 326, 328-29, cert. denied, 215 Conn. 816
(1990). "Where there is evidence on the issue of entrapment as to which
reasoning minds might disagree, the question is one of fact to be submitted to
the jury." State v. Marquardt, 139 Conn. 1, 7 (1952).