Did the Police Entrap Me?
As a criminal lawyer who practices in Orlando and the Greater Central Florida area, I have handled many prostitution, assignation, and solicitation cases. One question that I often get from escorts who may or may not engage in prostitution is “Did the police entrap me?” Identifying entrapment can be difficult for the untrained eye, but there are key indicators Orlando sex crime lawyers look out for.
Florida § 777.201 defines entrapment as when law enforcement:
“…for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.”
In layman’s terms, entrapment is convincing an individual to engage in illegal activity he or she otherwise would not have. If an escort posts an ad on Craigslist with a few photos and some suggested language, the defense of entrapment has been severely compromised.
It is becoming increasingly popular for escorts to post ads on Craigslist under erotic services to offer dates of companionship to males in Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Brevard, Lake, and Volusia counties. Many of the individuals seeking these services are businessmen on travel and local guys looking to satisfy sexual desires.
From my experience as a sex crimes defense lawyer in Central Florida, I have many escort clients who’ve been arrested after a sting operation where they listed their services for hire on Craigslist. They often posted naked or scantily clad pictures of themselves in suggestive poses. In many instances, they described their services utilizing coded language such as GFE (girlfriend experience), hugs and kisses, and travel to exotic destinations among other language.
Craigslist Prostitution Stings
The women who post these ads will often get a call from undercover cops on Craigslist posing as men looking to utilize their services. The escorts show up at a hotel, enter the undercover agent’s room, and engage in conversation that ultimately leads to a discussion about sex for money. The escort will then get arrested for charges of solicitation, assignation, or commission of prostitution. In many instances, the police have either videotaped, recorded, or transcribed the encounter.
In a nutshell, if you are posting ads under the erotic services tab on Craigslist that displays pictures of yourself and/or services you are offering, it is quite difficult then to claim that the police “made you do it.”
The defense of police entrapment is, from a jury’s perspective, that the police engaged in behavior that caused you as a private citizen to commit a criminal act you normally would otherwise not engage in. Being that you advertised services, this defense will not be applicable.
The Entrapment Test
Criminal courts continuously hear defendants claim entrapment but legislators never implemented guidelines for proving entrapment. What judges chose to do instead is rely on precedents set by previous court rulings which opened the door for entrapment tests. The two currently in use are the subjective and objective test:
- Subjective Test: This test looks into whether the law enforcement officer planted the intent in the individual’s mind to engage in illegal activity that he or she would not have if not lured by the police. What makes the test subjective is that it relies on what exactly convinced the individual to commit the crime.
- Objective Test: This test looks into the law enforcement officer’s conduct and if it caused someone who regularly abides the law to commit a crime.
Have You Been Caught in a Craigslist Sting?
If you’ve been arrested for being an escort who has posted on craigslist or are a man who’s utilized craigslist services and find yourself in trouble with the law, please contact the experienced Orlando craigslist police entrapment defense attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm. As a former prosecutor, Bill Umansky has tried hundreds of cases in Florida courtrooms and even named a top criminal lawyer by Orlando Home and Leisure Magazine. We provide unique advantages that most other law firms can’t match. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.