Defendant appeals charges of aiding and abetting. Defendant’s conviction rises and falls on evidence related to his conversation with another regarding to the purchase of marijuana. Defendant’s conversational partner was a student who would help police from time to time in soliciting marijuana purchases and testify at trial against dealers. It was alleged at trial that defendant, when asked, did not have enough pot on hand to sell and instead drew a map for the undercover party to where he could purchase marijuana. Undercover party eventually purchased marijuana from that party, but charged with aiding and abetting the selling marijuana as well.
Convicted in superior court.
Did defendant have the requisite intent for convicting of aiding and abetting the sale of marijuana?
No. Remanded, with direction to dismiss.
“While aid does not require intent, to abet another in the commission of a crime implies a consciousness of guilt in instigating, encouraging, promoting or aiding in the commission of such criminal offense.” Convicting for aiding and abetting requires proof that the defendant did something associated with the principal to commit the crime.
Short of drawing the map, defendant did not establish the requisite intent to be charged with aiding and abetting because no evidence exists affirming that he “counseled, encouraged, hired, commanded, induced or procured” the undercover the eventual seller of marijuana to deal with the undercover agent. It would be dangerous to establish a precedent that mere communication directing one to a potential criminal activity, the probability of which it is to occur being totally unknown, establishing the requisite intent for aiding and abetting. If defendant would have communicated directly with the eventual dealer and supported his crime, conviction may be sustained. However, no evidence exists to support he encouraged, supported, or induced the eventual criminal sale.
In U.S. v. Garcia-Carrasquillo – “The government must show that the defendant associated himself with the commission of the offense, participated in it as something that he wished to bring about, and sought by his actions to make it succeed.”