Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. Appointments can be scheduled at 732-572-0500. He is author of the ABA's book "Criminal Law Forms".
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Monday, July 20, 2009

2C:2-12. Entrapment

2C:2-12. Entrapment
a. A public law enforcement official or a person engaged in cooperation with such an official or one acting as an agent of a public law enforcement official perpetrates an entrapment if for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of an offense, he induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such offense by either:

(1) Making knowingly false representations designed to induce the belief that such conduct is not prohibited; or

(2) Employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such an offense will be committed by persons other than those who are ready to commit it.

b. Except as provided in subsection c. of this section, a person prosecuted for an offense shall be acquitted if he proves by a preponderance of evidence that his conduct occurred in response to an entrapment. The issue of entrapment shall be tried by the trier of fact.

c. The defense afforded by this section is unavailable when causing or threatening bodily injury is an element of the offense charged and the prosecution is based on conduct causing or threatening such injury to a person other than the person perpetrating the entrapment.

Suffice it to say, New Jersey law recognizes both statutory entrapment and due process entrapment. Under the Code of Criminal Justice, entrapment is an affirmative defense which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence. State v. Florez, 134 N.J. at 583. The statutory defense, N.J.S.A. 2C:2-12, has both subjective and objective elements. State v. Rockholt, 96 N.J. 570, 579 (1994). "Subjective entrapment occurs when the police implant a criminal plan in the mind of an innocent person who would not ordinarily have committed the offense." State v. Florez, 134 N.J. at 583-84. Objective entrapment takes place when the police conduct "is so egregious as to `impugn the integrity of the court'" permitting a conviction or "causes an average citizen to commit a crime." Id. at 584 (quoting State v. Fogarty, 128 N.J. at 65). "The statutory entrapment defense based upon both subjective and objective elements is an issue that the jury must determine." Ibid.

In contrast, due process entrapment focuses exclusively on government conduct. State v. Johnson, 127 N.J. at 470. Due process entrapment occurs when government conduct is "patently wrongful in that it constitutes an abuse of lawful power, perverts the proper role of government, and offends principles of fundamental fairness." Id. at 473; see generally State v. Talbot, 71 N.J. 160 (1976). Due process entrapment poses an issue of law that must be decided by the court. State v. Florez.

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