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In Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice by Lawrence M. Solan and Peter M. Tiersma, in chapter 9, answer the following questions. 1.) What is the difference between solicitation and conspiracy to commit a crime?   2.) What is an essential element in conspiracy and how is this proved?   3.) How was linguistic analysis used in a case against an athlete accused of conspiring to selling drugs?

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Conspiracy to commit a crime exists when two or more people knowingly and deliberately agree to the criminal act. Solicitation occurs when one person "solicits," or persuades by some means, someone else to commit a crime. The crime in question does not actually have to occur for solicitation or conspiracy to have occurred. In other words, if two people are proven to have conspired to commit fraud, then they are guilty of conspiracy. Under the law, they are guilty whether or not they actually followed through with their plan.

Linguistic analysis is often important in these cases. It can be used to determine if both parties knowingly conspired, if it was a case of one person soliciting the other, or if the perpetrator was acting independently.

The authors mention a case involving an athlete who visited the home of a drug dealer. After the exchange, which was recorded by a federal agent, the athlete was accused of conspiracy to sell cocaine. He was acquitted, however, based on an important piece of linguistic evidence. The drug dealer repeatedly used the word "I" in talking about selling drugs. That linguistic pattern indicated that both he and the athlete understood that he was acting alone as a drug dealer. In other words, linguistic analysis was used to determine that the drug dealer acted independently, not in a conspiracy with the athlete.

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