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According the book Speaking of Crime, why was Hood convicted of solicitation to commit a crime, and why is it difficult to obtain convictions for solicitation to commit a crime?    

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Hood, a man in Colorado who told multiple people that he wanted his wife dead, was convicted of solicitation of murder after she actually was murdered. The case against him primarily hinged on several conversations he had with a friend named Michael Maher. In these conversations, he stated that he wanted his wife dead, that she was "better off dead" because she had a serious illness, and that she "needs to die." He even described several possible plans to bring about her death. Maher testified at Hood's trial that he believed Hood was completely sincere about wanting his wife murdered. Later, Hood persuaded his girlfriend (another reason he wanted his wife dead) to carry out the murder. He was convicted of conspiring to murder his wife and of soliciting both his girlfriend (which the authors concede was an obvious conviction) and Maher to commit the deed. The authors point out the solicitation of Maher is not a terribly strong charge, because he never directly asked him to kill his wife. Maher assumed that Hood was soliciting him, and this was, in short why the jury found Hood guilty on this count. The conviction was upheld because Hood's solicitation of his girlfriend corroborates his intent in speaking to Maher about the murder. Still, as the authors point out, it is usually difficult to convict someone for solicitation, because when they do solicit a crime, they often do so through very indirect and vague language. "The tendency of individuals engaged in criminal activity to speak indirectly or in code...combined with the high standard of proof in criminal cases" makes it difficult to get convictions, they write.

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