Entrapment isn’t a crime nor is it well understood by most criminal defendants who believe claiming entrapment will help them in their criminal trial. Entrapment is what’s known as an affirmative defense. You’re admitting that you did what they said you did, but only because you were coerced into doing it. A successful entrapment defense proves that it’s against your nature or character to have committed the crime you’re accused of having committed. Alternatively, you prove that a reasonable person in the same situation would have been unduly influenced by the actions of law enforcement. In other words, there’s a high standard of proof when it comes to claiming an entrapment defense. Police officers, knowing this, sometimes cross the line.
Now, the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office is facing accusations that they entrapped several men by violating best practices and legal ethics. These men stand accused of attempting to solicit sex from minors.
Sarasota Sheriff’s Department Went to “Outrageous Lengths” to Catch “Predators”
Catfishing sexual predators is not a new tactic. It works because law enforcement has some inkling that the individual they’re targeting has likely violated the law before and this gives them probable cause to go in and conduct a search.
But what about a 20-year-old guy who goes on Tinder thinking he’s talking to an 18-year-old girl and then this person sends him a text saying that she’s really 14? The man says he’s not interested, but then the next day, the same girl is trying to chat him up again. Detectives then sent unsolicited photos to the man, a practice that violates best practices and ethical standards.
Using tactics like the ones mentioned above, the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office proceeds to hold grandiose press conferences stating that they helped nab over 20 “sexual predators”. The operation is called Intercept VII because they’ve done this six years running.
Uncovering information on the stings has proven difficult because SCSD has gone through great lengths to destroy records of the stings before they can reach the public. The only reason evidence was produced in this case is thanks to a 20-year-old man who was the subject of a sting operation. He, in fact, is a civilian employee of the SCSD. The man, despite having broken no law, was forced to resign under the threat that the SCSD would make the exchange public. Their tactics included sending nearly-naked pictures of underaged girls to potential targets which is itself a violation of the law.
By and large, SCSD used the same tactic described above on numerous individuals charged with attempting to solicit sex from a minor. If convicted, they could face prison time and have their names accessible in sex offender registries for the rest of their lives.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Police do not have the right to induce members of the public into committing crimes. If you’ve been the victim of an overzealous police force that is itself in violation of the law, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. can help defend you from the charges. Talk to us immediately.