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Entrapment in Colorado, an Affirmative Defense?

Colorado Entrapment, is an affirmative defense which essentially says the government has encouraged or procured your violation of the law to such an extent that you would not have done so without their procurement.  Affirmative defenses essentially say, "yes, I've committed the crime, but I have a legal trump to the charges" against me in Denver, Jefferson County or Douglas County.

We normally see the Entrapment defense, C.R.S. 18-1-709, as plausible where police contact a man on-line in a chat room and pretend to be a fourteen year old girl interested in sex talk and eventually a meeting for sex in Arapahoe or Adams County.  The police drop every hint imaginable that they want to meet for sex, and hope the man will take the bait.  If they don't meet, the police will try and get the man to ask for a picture of the girl naked, or encourage the man to show a picture of himself naked. This then gives rise to a charge for crimes like Internet Luring of a Child, C.R.S. 18-3-306, Enticement of a Child, C.R.S. 18-3-305, or Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child, 18-3-405.4.

Entrapment involves police creating a strong likelihood someone will commit a crime and tempt them to such an extent that police are seen as the ones contributing the most to the commission of the offense.  To limit the use of this defense, Colorado law states that the acts must be "committed by a person who, but for such inducement, would not have conceived of or engaged in conduct of the sort induced.  Merely affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense is not engrapment".  C.R.S. 18-1-709. So, you can see that to use this defense, police conduct must be really egregious.

In a recent Jefferson County felony forgery case, a felon approached and convinced our client (on probation) to order a fake driver's license from him. Our client was not looking to get a license until the felon approached him and convinced him of the benefits of having such a fake license.  Once our client agreed, the felon contacted the police and  turned our client in.  We were unable to use the entrapment defense because the felon was not acting as an agent of the police.  While there was entrapment by the felon, Colorado Entrapment law requires police enducement to a defendant to break the law. 

In cities like Lakewood, Aurora and Westminster, police must be the actors doing the inducement, and they must strongly induce someone - not just given them an opportunity to break the law.  Finally the person charged must not be the type who would have conceived of committing the illegal act.  While we do have the entrapment defense, its application will be rare. Only extreme conduct by police will qualify, and that extreme conduct must be directed to someone who did not otherwise have a propensity to commit the offense.

If you are charged with any criminal offense in Colorado and thing you may have been entrapped by the police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719 today.  Together, we can protect your future.

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