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Minneapolis case raises questions about entrapment

By now, many of our Hennepin County readers have already heard about the criminal charges that have been levied against six Minneapolis men for their alleged plans to "leave the country and join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)." Now facing charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, explains the FBI, the men could face considerable consequences if they are convicted.

But the charges against the men have raised some rather important questions, especially concerning the lead up to their arrests. There are some in the community, as you may already know, who have concerns that techniques may have been used to entrap the men. Although U.S. Attorney Andy Luger insisted this month that the FBI did not entrap the men, the question has now been raised and can only be answered over the course of the trial.

Today though we would like to look at what entrapment is and allow out Hennepin County readers to consider whether it really was a factor in the case or not.

According to Wisegeek.com, entrapment is considered to have occurred if a law enforcement agency legitimately deceives a person into committing a crime that is not within the individual's character to commit. Mere solicitation of performing a crime is not enough to establish entrapment though. The advancements of the law enforcement agency need to have been to considerable excess, which can include coercion or threats, before an entrapment defense is possible.

Even if a person can establish that police or a federal agent entrapped them, a person will still need to defend themselves against the accusations at hand. Because of how our laws are worded and the sheer complexity of them, putting forth a good defense can be challenging without the help of an experienced defense attorney. Having a good attorney at your side will give you a better chance of understanding the law and how to protect your rights as you traverse this challenging event in your life.

Sources:  The Star Tribune, "Feds field questions in Mpls. from Somali-American community in ISIL-related case," Mila Koumpilova, May 10, 2015

Wisegeek.com, "What Is Entrapment?" Accessed May 20, 2015

Cornell University Law School, "18 U.S.C. § 2339B," Accessed May 20, 2015

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