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State v. Pacheco

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Defendant, Herbert Pacheco, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    In order for a criminal defendant to be guilty of conspiracy, there must be some agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. 

    Facts.

    Pacheco bragged to one of his co workers, Thomas Dillon, about various criminal activities he was involved in and when Dillon learned Pacheco was a deputy sheriff, he contacted the FBI about Pacheco’s activities, and volunteered to be an informant on Pacheco’s activities. The FBI and Dillon came up with a plan for Dillon to request that Pacheco work as his protection during a prospective drug deal, which Pacheco agreed to. When Dillon told Pacheco that he had been cheated out of his money during the drug deal, Pacheco offered to kill the individual who had cheated Dillon out of the money. Pacheco was to go down to the lobby to call and kill the buyer, but when he went to the lobby with a loaded gun he never called the buyer and went to leave and was subsequently arrested. Pacheco was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance. Conspiracy requires an agreement to commit a crime with intent of doing so and an overt act or substantial step toward commission of the crime. Pacheco was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

    Issue.

    Whether in order for a criminal defendant to be guilty of conspiracy, there must be some agreement between two or more people to commit a crime.

    Held.

    Yes. In order for a criminal defendant to be guilty of conspiracy, there must be some agreement between two or more people to commit a crime.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    When one of the individuals that is apart of the agreement is an undercover officer, then there can be no conspiracy because only one person has agreed to commit the crime. The agreement must be bilateral and since the undercover officer was not really agreeing to commit any crime, then there was no bilateral agreement. If the agreement is unilateral then there actually has been no agreement to commit a conspiracy and a person cannot conspire to commit a crime by themselves. The reason for the crime of conspiracy is the danger that is presented when two or more individuals engage in unlawful activity and requiring only a unilateral agreement would contradict this purpose.


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