UPDATED: Apr 19, 2009

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if the fbi and local police use the internet to sell children for sex is that a form of entrapment? and is it legal? shouldnt the officer be introuble for bing a pimp? and is there a crime when there was no child?

Asked on April 19, 2009 under Criminal Law, Kansas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

A person is "entrapped' "when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit; and the law as a matter of policy forbids conviction in such a case.

However, there is no entrapment where a person is ready and willing to break the law and the police merely provide what appears to be a favorable opportunity for the person to commit the crime. For example, it is not entrapment for a Government agent to pretend to be someone else and to offer, either directly or through an informer or other decoy, to engage in an unlawful transaction with the person. So, a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that Government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity.

On the other hand, if the evidence leaves a reasonable doubt whether the person had any intent to commit the crime except for inducement or persuasion on the part of some Government officer or agent, then the person is not guilty.

To have entrapment three things must have occurred:

- First, the idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.

- Second, the government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.

- And third, the person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him 

In your case I don't know the specifics of what happened.  For example, what web site you were on when all of this occurred?  Was it a children's site, etc.  Also, how did you find this website?  Did the government induce you to go there or did you go willingly go on your own?  Without knowing more facts it's hard for me to know how to apply the above guidelines.

What I can tell you is that in general this type of use by the police of the internet is legal.  And no the officer is not guilty of being a pimp.  He was not actually selling a child.  Also, there indeed can be a crime when in fact that there was no real child.  It all has to do with your intent.  After all you didn't know that there was no child;  for all you knew there really was.  Finally, as to whether or not there was entrapment in this case well that is a matter for the courts.

All I can say that this is a serious matter.  You will need an attorney and a good one.


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