While strained relationships between daughters- and mothers-in-law are almost to be expected, a Jacksonville granny’s frustration with her son’s wife and the mother of her grandchild crossed the line. The woman entered into negotiations with an undercover deputy pretending to be a hit man.
For $5,000, she hired him to kill her daughter-in-law, giving a down payment for the job and instructing the phony assassin to recover the balance by stealing jewelry off his victim’s body. She apparently told what she thought was a killer-for-hire that if he didn’t do the job, she’d do it herself.
What is criminal solicitation and conspiracy?
The 70-year-old assailant in the case was charged with criminal solicitation and criminal conspiracy, which are crimes that involve enticing or attempting to entice others to commit crimes on one’s behalf or in concert with others. In this respect, Florida’s criminal law is no different from other states in that it is illegal to pay others to commit crimes.
More broadly, Florida law defines solicitation of others as commanding, hiring, requesting and even encouraging others to commit a criminal offense. Similarly, conspiracy under Florida law involves not much more than joining forces with another individual or group of individuals to commit a criminal act. Furthermore, if the crime for which an individual solicits or conspires with another is a felony, the solicitation and conspiracy counts can also be charged as felonies.
What are the penalties for solicitation and conspiracy?
The extent to which those convicted of solicitation and conspiracy are punished depends largely on the underlying crime the case involves. In general, counts of solicitation and conspiracy are punished at one level below the underlying offense. For example, a person convicted of solicitation for a felony of the first degree is punished based on having committed a felony of the second degree. As such, severe punishments may await those who merely hire others to commit serious crimes.