In the case of people v. terrell 792 N.E.2d 357(Ill. App 2003) should the defendant be convicted of the crimes considering the circumstance?

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Under the circumstances, the Court of Appeals reached the correct conclusion. The Court noted that the applicable statute provided

A person commits solicitation of murder when, with the intent that the offense of first[-]degree murder be committed, he commands, encourages[,] or requests another to commit that offense." (Emphasis added.)

The court held that there is a difference between asking one to aid or abet the commission of a crime and asking that one to actually commit the crime, or solicit a third person to commit it. The distinction is narrow at best, but the Court held that the Legislatures language did not reach the situation presented here.  The court further noted:

The primary distinction is the capacity of the solicitor to abandon his criminal attempt when he intends to be the primary actor. The situation at bar provides a good illustration. Because the defendant had no transportation, he would not have been able to carry out his plan to murder Harp without Wilkins' assistance. Had Wilkins performed the acts requested of him by the defendant, he would have joined in the commission of the crime, which could not have occurred had the defendant not requested his assistance-but only if the defendant followed through with his plan to murder Harp. By contrast, had Wilkins agreed to a request to murder Harp for the defendant, the murder would have occurred even if the defendant changed his mind.

I think it is safe to say that the Court interpreted the statute correctly.

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