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Law School Case Brief

Munoz v. State - 629 So. 2d 90 (Fla. 1993)

Rule:

Under the subjective test set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States, once a defendant raises entrapment as a defense, the defendant has the burden to establish that the government induced the defendant to commit the offense charged. However, once that burden is met, the burden shifts to the government to establish the defendant's predisposition to commit the offense. In proving a defendant's predisposition, the government must establish that the defendant was predisposed to commit the offense both prior to and independent of the government's inducement. In doing so, the government may make an appropriate and searching inquiry into the conduct of the defendant and present evidence of the defendant's prior criminal history so long as that history is relevant to the issue of the defendant's predisposition.

Facts:

Defendant Manuel Munoz, the owner of a video rental store, rented two X-rated videotapes to a minor informant as a result of a police operation. Munoz was later charged with two counts of sale or distribution of harmful materials to a person under 18 years of age in violation of Fla. Stat. ch. 847.012. At trial in New York state court, the trial judge dismissed the charges against Munoz on the basis of entrapment as a matter of law based on the objective entrapment test set forth in Cruz v. State. The appellate court reversed, however, holding that the legislature had abolished the objective entrapment test set forth in Cruz through the enactment of Fla. Stat. ch. 777.201. Defendant sought review of the appellate court's judgment. 

Issue:

Was the objective entrapment test abolished?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The state supreme court found that the objective test for entrapment had been abolished by statute and that Munoz had been entrapped as a matter of law. The court further held that the objective test was replaced by a subjective test of whether a criminal defendant had been entrapped by law enforcement. The subjective test involved a shifting burden of proof. However, the court observed that the legislature could not prohibit the judiciary from analyzing whether a defendant's due process rights under the Fla. Const. art. I, § 9, had been violated. The court concluded that it did not have to reach the due process question because Munoz had been entrapped under the subjective test of Fla. Stat. ch. 777.201 as a matter of law. There was no evidence that Munoz was predisposed to rent inappropriate materials to juveniles or that he would have done so without inducement.

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