Sting operations and entrapment defense in corruption behaviors

A systematic analysis between Italy, Europe, and the United States


  • Mattia Cutolo Law Faculty, University of Salerno



Comparative criminal law, Entrapment, Agent provocateur, Public corruption, Extrema ratio principle


The paper aims to provide an overview on sting operations facilitating crimes and entrapment defense, related to public corruption behaviors. A historiographic introduction will show how the U.S. system has managed corruption from the XVIII century; afterward, the focus will shift on the dogmatic profiles to clarify complications and practical functioning of entrapment defense as to the general theory of the offense. A reflection is also needed on whether or not the agent provocateur figure should be imported into European systems, displaying how case law from the Italian Supreme Court are inspired by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg: despite theoretical discrepancies, both these courts are in a constant, however silent, dialogue with the U.S. courts. The crucial issue is the analysis of legal principles pertinent to the agent provocateur and to the instigated individual in order to understand, from the European point of view, whether or not the former is indictable and, from the U.S. point of view, whether or not the latter is.

Author Biography

Mattia Cutolo, Law Faculty, University of Salerno

Mattia Cutolo is a Ph.D. student in criminal law at the University of Salerno. He graduated from the University of Trento in 2020, after being Visiting Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School in 2019 and obtaining an LL.M. at Washington University School of Law in 2017.




How to Cite

Cutolo, Mattia. 2022. “Sting Operations and Entrapment Defense in Corruption Behaviors: A Systematic Analysis Between Italy, Europe, and the United States”. Trento Student Law Review 4 (2). Trento, Italy:73-116.