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Entrapment Defense — Ernie’s Undercover Encouragement

Posted by Fred Koberlein, Jr. | Apr 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

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With two arrests for possession of marijuana and two subsequent probationary periods, Ernie had a spotty record. In his most recent arrest, police also charged Ernie with possession of cocaine because a gram was found in his freshman roommate's drawer. An attorney helped Ernie get the cocaine charges dismissed but not the marijuana charges. Afterwards, Ernie took a break from college and began working at a sandwich shop to save up money.

A new worker's friend named Bob, who happened to be an undercover member of the Florida drug task force, saw Ernie smoking marijuana at group gatherings and knew he had a reputation for selling small amounts of the drug. Bob's assignment was to investigate rumors that someone who worked at the sandwich store or who was associated with the workers was trafficking large volumes of cocaine. Since Ernie's record fit the profile and he was suspected of selling other drugs, Bob wanted to see if Ernie knew how to get cocaine.

Bob asked Ernie to sell him a gram of cocaine one day. Ernie declined, saying he didn't really have any contacts. Bob asked repeatedly the next few days, saying he really needed a gram before his girlfriend's birthday that weekend. Bob also made Ernie feel pressured by saying that he heard Ernie was nice yet Ernie was clearly brushing him off. Ernie finally gave in, saying he would call some people. That night, Ernie delivered a gram of cocaine to Bob. Bob said the product looked great and asked Ernie if he could get several grams at a time. Ernie said it could be possible and that he would look into it.

The next morning, police arrived at Ernie's house and arrested him. They found less than a half ounce of marijuana, a digital scale and some related paraphernalia, but no cocaine. Nevertheless, Ernie was charged with distribution of cocaine and asked to reveal information about cocaine trafficking. Reserving his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination, Ernie declined to speak with the police until he had a lawyer.

Was Ernie Entrapped?

Because Ernie could claim he was coerced, he could potentially mount an entrapment defense. However, entrapment is a complex legal defense with many nuanced interpretations which we will explore further in later blogs. Winning Ernie's case with an entrapment defense therefore wouldn't be easy. Bob the agent's conduct would have to be proven to be so extreme that any normal person would break down and sell him cocaine. The prosecution would also likely point to Ernie's criminal history, claiming that his past behavior indicates that he is predisposed to actions like selling cocaine.

The only thing for certain is that Ernie needs a good criminal attorney. If you find yourself facing charges after a police or government agent coerced you into performing an illegal act, we suggest you seek out skilled legal representation to ensure that all of the facts of the case are considered. No matter how much evidence they have of your guilt, a successful entrapment defense can ensure that unjust and unfair practices are not used to coerce people into performing crimes they would have otherwise not committed.

Contact us at Koberlein Law Offices in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida for more information on how we can help you protect yourself against unfair law enforcement practices.

About the Author

Fred Koberlein, Jr.

Fred Koberlein is a trial attorney who opened Koberlein Law Offices after acquiring extensive legal experience in three legal practice areas, which are: personal injury law; criminal defense; and local government matters which require you to appear or present your matter before your local government Boards, government Councils, and government Agencies. Mr. Koberlein began trial preparation through an externship as a legal clerk with the Judges of the Third Judicial Circuit for Florida prior to his graduation from the University of Florida, College of Law.  After law school Mr. Koberlein was dedicated to becoming a trial attorney and worked with the Public Defender's Office from 2004 to 2007, where he was promoted to handling felony cases within eight months of hire.  Mr.  Koberlein has handled over 1500 criminal cases ranging from possession of cannabis, DUI, serious felonies, white-collar crimes, violations of probation hearings, and countless motion hearings. Mr.  Koberlein began practicing in the areas of personal injury and insurance defense during 2006.  Mr. Koberlein's experience in prosecuting personal injury claims against those insurance companies he was not representing and defending other insurance companies and their customers provided a unique experience where he was able to learn what each side anticipates from the opposing party.Next, Mr. Koberlein was hired by a City to defend the City's interests and three additional Cities quickly followed and retained Mr. Koberlein to protect their interests.  Currently, Mr. Koberlein represents a total of four (4) municipalities in the North Florida area.  As Mr. Koberlein focused on civil litigation he remained passionate about representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes as well as civil litigation issues. Mr.  Koberlein has the experience and reputation to negotiate a favorable resolution in your matter, and if that is not possible, to provide the best, most zealous trial representation available.  Utilizing competent and trusted investigators and experts, your case will be prepared so that the best result will be achieved.  If you or a loved one is hurt, damaged, or is facing criminal charges, you want a qualified, hard-working attorney who will explain your options to you in a straightforward, commonsense, and honest manner. Education and Practice Experience: University of Florida; Gainesville, Florida; Bachelor of Science, 1997 University of South Florida; Tampa, Florida; 1998 University of Florida, College of Law; Gainesville, Florida; 2003 Bar and Court Admissions: Florida Bar, 2004 – Present All 67 Counties in Florida All 20 Circuits in Florida U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida Professional and Civic Activities: Florida Bar Trial Lawyers, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Business Law Section, 2007 – Present Florida Bar Criminal Law Section, 2004 – Present Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2004 – Present Third Judicial Bar Association, 2004 – Present Mr.  Koberlein is committed to his clients and devotes himself to protecting their interests from the beginning to the end of their case.  Mr. Koberlein has spent his career helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges, fight insurance companies, and proceed through the bureaucratic process of local governments.  Mr. Koberlein welcomes the opportunity to meet with you and evaluate your legal needs and provide you with an experienced and competent analysis.

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