A Conspiracy Does Not Exist Unless There is an Agreement to Commit the Same Crime

           In the case of Gregory Schlicher versus State of Florida, Mr. Schlicher was convicted of six counts of conspiracy to purchase cocaine as well as two other charges.  The facts of his case are as follows:

 

          "During  the  trial,  the  [prosecutor]  presented  a  number  of  police  witnesses who  testified  that  the police were conducting an investigation, primarily through  wiretaps,  of  a  cocaine  trafficking  organization  headed by Jose Tzoc-Caxaj.  Schlicher was not the target of the investigation, but came  to  be known  to  police  when he  purchased  cocaine  from  Jose. Schlicher admitted to police that he had purchased cocaine consistently from Jose for his own use, but maintained that he was not a drug dealer.  The  [prosecutor]  also  introduced  recordings  of  the wiretapped conversations between Jose and Schlicher.  Those conversations are, in large part, the basis of the charges against Schlicher."

 

           Schlicher appealed the jury's verdict, arguing that the prosecutor failed to prove that he committed the crime of conspiracy to purchase cocaine.  Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with him stating:

 

          1.   A conspiracy exists when there is either an express or implied agreement between two or more persons to commit a criminal offense, as well as an intention to commit that offense.

 

          2.  Direct proof of the agreement is not necessary; it may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.

 

          3.  Florida appellate courts have typically upheld convictions for conspiracies to buy or sell drugs when the "defendants are involved in a series of meetings, arrangements and negotiations to sell or buy illegal drugs that lead to such sale or purchase."

 

          4.  The agreement that constitutes the conspiracy must be an agreement to commit the same criminal offense.

 

           5.  In a buy-sell transaction, that agreement usually does not exist because the buyer and seller each intend to commit a different crime.  As a result, there is no criminal conspiracy to achieve a common goal.

 

           6.  There was no criminal conspiracy to pursue a common goal in this case because Schlicher was charged with conspiracy to buy cocaine while Jose was charged with conspiracy to sell cocaine.  Therefore, no evidence was presented proving either an express or implied agreement between the two men to commit the same crime of purchasing cocaine.

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