Psychology, Factfinding, and Entrapment

Through the entrapment defense, the law acknowledges that criminal behavior is not always the result of a culpable mind, but is sometimes the result of an interaction between the individual and his environment. By limiting the amount of pressure and temptation that undercover agents may bring to bear on a target, the defense recognizes that the ordinary, law-abiding citizen can be persuaded, cajoled, or intimidated into criminal activity that, he would never consider absent law-enforcement interference. Appropriate application of the defense requires, however, that courts be able to accurately separate the truly wicked from the merely weak-willed, and offensively coercive police conduct from that which merely convinces the criminal-minded to commit the crime here and now where he can more easily be caught. Two methods of making these distinctions have evolved: the subjective and objective tests.