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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Is a Sex Sting Operation in IL Entrapment?

If you’ve watched any amount of television, seen movies, or watched the news, then you’ve no doubt heard of sting operations run by law enforcement. These operations are meant to create a controlled environment in order to catch those who want to break the law – and they work well.

In fact, a recent police sting operation in Illinois arrested 11 child predators, with more expected to be apprehended soon. This operation involves a police officer posing online as an underage girl. Adults then solicit her for sex. When the meeting is arranged and the men show up, they are arrested.

While this may seem like a good way to catch a predator, many people wonder if these types of sting operations are simply entrapment and not solid police work.

What is the difference between entrapment and a sting operation? Read on to find out.

Illinois Sting Operations: What Are They?

At its core, a sting operation is a practice used by law enforcement to catch people involved in a criminal activity. In sting operations, police officers pose as a civilian meant to help facilitate the attempt to commit an illegal act. You often hear about sting operations being used to target child sexual predators, but they can be used for anything, including prostitution and drug crimes.

When the suspect attempts to commit whatever illegal act is targeted, they are typically arrested and charged with a crime.

Entrapment: What Is It under Illinois Law?

What’s the difference between sting operations and entrapment? First you need to know what entrapment means legally.

By definition, entrapment refers to a situation where someone is lured into committing a crime by law enforcement. It’s not unusual for the officers to be undercover.

The difference from a sting operation is that the suspect wouldn’t have committed the crime if it were not for the influence of law enforcement.

For someone to prove entrapment, they have to show:

  1. That they were induced by law enforcement to commit the illegal act they’re being charged with and
  2. That they would not have committed the act if left to their own devices.

How Can an Entrapment Defense Be Challenged?

You can face several practical challenges when using entrapment as a defense to a sting operation arrest.

For example, the sexual predators caught in the Illinois sting operation mentioned previously likely were the ones to approach the woman they believed was an underage girl and solicit her for sex. That would make it difficult to convince a court that this is not an act they were predisposed to commit. However, if they can demonstrate that they were somehow induced or coerced by law enforcement, then that may be a good defense.

How Can an Entrapment Defense Be Challenged?

When facing criminal charges of any nature, it’s serious. They can have a serious impact on your life going forward, which is why you need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the charges and formulate a solid defense. And if you believe you were the victim of police entrapment, then that’s something your lawyer can represent to the court on your behalf.

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

 

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