People v. Gordon

The Facts

Defendant indicted for solicitation of a bribe.  Defendant, an attorney contacted her associate, Mr. Bane, telling him that she knew where to find a large quantity of cocaine.  Bane knew an officer; and defendant instructed that if he could be trusted, Bane should contact the officer.  Defendant contacted the officer directly and asked if Bane had spoken with him about the drugs and if he was interested in seizing the drugs.  Defendant and the officer met in person, when defendant told the officer that she had a client who “wanted someone taken discredited.” That person was a member of the LA Community College Board of Trustees.  Defendant wanted the board member to be planted with cocaine and that she would pay the officer for doing so.  She stated that she knew of the large cocaine location and then asked it to be planted on the board member’s car or person.  The officer then called defendant and recorded the conversation, where defendant discussed pricing for the deal.  However, defendant the next day called the officer and told her she wanted out of the deal because she believed she had a future political career.

Procedural History

Prior to trial defendant moved to set aside his indictment, which was denied.  Found guilty as charged at trial.  At trial, defendant argued that she was never soliciting the officer and instead was “just feeling him out.”

Relevant Statute

“Willfully and unlawfully and feloniously solicit another to offer, accept and join in the offer acceptance of a bribe.”

The Issue

Whether the defendant’s negotiation of a price for a felonious act constitutes solicitation, even where the criminal act is eventually abandoned.

The Holding/Reasoning

Yes.  “The solicitation of a bribe need not be stated in any particular language; such solicitation may be in the form of words which carry the import of a bribe and were evidently intended to be so understood.”

It can be reasonably inferred the defendant was asking the officer, in return for money, to commit a crime.  It is not a defense that she later withdrew.  The solicitation is complete, regardless of later withdrawal.  Solicitation “is complete when it is made, and it is immaterial that the object of the solicitation is never consummated, or that no steps are taken toward its consummation.”

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