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Name: People v. Nelson
Case #: E061050
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/15/2015
Summary

Where defendant solicited a second party to solicit a third party to commit murder, there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction for solicitation of murder. Nelson was going through a bad divorce. After Nelson’s friend mentioned getting a hit man to kill her boyfriend, he starting talking to her about arranging to have the same hit man kill his wife. He told the friend, “You should ask for a two-for-one deal.” The friend believed that Nelson was serious and reported the conversation to Nelson’s wife. The wife called the police. Nelson talked to and subsequently arranged to meet the “hit man,” who was actually an undercover officer. When Nelson’s girlfriend threatened to leave him if he met with the hit man, he cancelled the meeting. Nelson was nonetheless arrested and subsequently convicted of committing solicitation of murder. On appeal, he claimed there was insufficient evidence because he only solicited a friend to solicit someone else to commit murder. Held: Affirmed. Every person who, with the intent that the crime be committed, solicits another to kill a person or join in the commission of a murder, is guilty of solicitation. (Pen. Code, § 653f, subd. (b).) The essence of criminal solicitation is an attempt to induce another to commit a criminal offense. “[A] person who successfully solicits another person to commit a crime is equally guilty of that crime, as an aider and abettor.” Thus, a person who solicits a second person to solicit a third person to commit a crime has essentially solicited the second person to commit the same crime. Further, the fact that Nelson asked his friend if they could get a “two-for-one deal,” essentially making the solicitation subject to a condition, is still criminal solicitation. The crime of solicitation is completed by the solicitation itself whether or not the person solicited rejects the offer.