What is wrong with entrapment?

Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (1):45-60 (2004)
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Proactive law enforcement techniques such as sting operations sometimes go too far, resulting in innocent people being "entrapped" into committing crime. Fortunately, the criminal law recognizes entrapment as a defense to a criminal charge. There is, however, much confusion about entrapment. In this paper I argue that this confusion is a result of misunderstanding the _moral status of entrapment. Since all proactive law enforcement violates the autonomy of those subject to it, it undermines moral agency and criminal liability. Although this is sometimes justifiable, proactive law enforcement that does so in a way that constitutes entrapment is not



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Paul Hughes
University of Michigan, Dearborn

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