Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District.
A claim that the offense of attempted solicitation of murder does not exist in Illinois was rejected in the case of an inmate who requested a murder by writing letters which never reached the addressee after they were placed in the prison mail system and intercepted by prison officials--criminal intent established and general attempt statute applicable.
Michael J. Pelletier, State Appellate Defender, Alan D. Goldberg, Deputy Defender, and Philip D. Payne, Assistant Appellate Defender, of the Office of the State Appellate Defender, of Chicago, for appellant.
Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield, and Anita Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J. Spellberg, Michelle Katz, Annette Collins and Douglas P. Harvath, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.
JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Defendant, Anthony Boyce, was convicted in the circuit court of Cook County of attempted solicitation of murder. In this appeal, he contends that offense does not exist in Illinois. We reject that argument, and we now affirm the judgment of the appellate court. 2013 IL App. (1st) 102318-U.
[¶2] STATUTES INVOLVED
[¶3] Section 8-1.1 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 ILCS 5/8-1.1 (West 2008)) provides in pertinent part:
" Solicitation of Murder. (a) 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.
(b) Penalty. Solicitation of murder is a Class X felony and a person convicted of solicitation of murder shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a period of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years ***."
[¶4] Section 8-4 of the Criminal Code (720 ILCS 5/8-4 (West 2008)) provides:
(a) Elements of the Offense.
A person commits an attempt when, with intent to commit a specific offense, he does any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that offense.
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(2) the sentence for attempt to commit a Class X felony is the sentence for a Class 1 felony[.]"
[¶6] Defendant, who was serving a sentence of natural life in prison for a prior murder, mailed a series of letters that were intercepted and opened by prison officials. Based on the contents of the letters, defendant was charged with one count of solicitation of murder and one count of attempt solicitation of murder.
[¶7] The State charged defendant with solicitation and attempt solicitation on a " request" theory. In the first count of the indictment, it was alleged that defendant, " with the intent that the offense of First Degree Murder be committed, to wit: that an unidentified drug addict be killed, *** requested that Xavier Tripp commit the offense of First Degree Murder of the unidentified drug addict" in violation of section 8-1.1(a) of the Criminal Code. In
the second count, the State alleged that defendant, " with the intent that the offense of First Degree Murder be committed, to wit: that an unidentified drug addict be killed, *** mailed a request to Xavier Tripp, requesting that Xavier Tripp commit the offense of First Degree Murder of the unidentified drug addict" in violation of section 8-4(a) of the Criminal Code.
[¶8] Subsequently, defendant filed a motion to dismiss count I of the indictment. In that motion, defendant argued " to be found guilty of the crime of solicitation, the defendant must have actually communicated to the person allegedly solicited. *** A command, encouragement, or request cannot be made if no one is there to receive it. Thus, an incomplete communication--a message ...