On December 31, 2020, Catholic Law alumna Erin Luibrand ’20 had an article published in the Winter 2020 edition of the Virginia Criminal Law Journal (VCLJ), one of ten student-run law journals at the University of Virginia. Luibrand’s research, “The Death of the Entrapment Defense: How the Entrapment Defense has Evolved in Federal Terrorism Case to the Point of Extinction in the Post 9/11 Era,” explores how the entrapment defense has failed to work in every single federal terrorism case since September 11, 2001. The article examines how the entrapment defense is necessary to prevent government overreach and how such a defense would allow law enforcement to focus their efforts on actual threats instead of individuals who never would have committed a crime if the government had not persuaded them.
Luibrand shared, “One of the biggest issues of the entrapment defense as it currently stands is it looks at the defendant's predisposition to commit an offense such as their background, education, and even religion which in turn targets vulnerable individuals. After analyzing the evolution of the defense through case law and the impact of the defense in the post 9/11 era, I offer some solutions moving forward. Specifically, I drafted a new law that I believe should be codified as an affirmative defense in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which gets rid of the predisposition prong of the defense and instead focuses on the government conduct.”
Luibrand has felt personally connected to this research topic since her father’s work as a criminal defense attorney in a 2006 entrapment case. She also noted that Professor Zachem had a huge impact on her interest in criminal law. “Although he did not specifically help me with this article, throughout the three classes I took with him and as well as being my directed research advisor, he has encouraged myself and all students to find their passion in the criminal law and to pursue it and I am very thankful for that support and encouragement.”