An Act to properly punish the solicitation of felony crimes

H1557: An Act to properly punish the solicitation of felony crimes

Currently in the Commonwealth, the crime of solicitation (encouraging someone else to commit a crime) is a misdemeanor, even when the crime being solicited is a felony. So, for example, solicitation to commit murder can only be prosecuted under the common law misdemeanor crime of “solicitation of a felony” which provides for a maximum penalty of no more than 2½ years in the house of correction.  This proposal tracks the conspiracy statute to provide appropriate penalties for solicitation based on the crime which is being solicited.  Our state supreme court touched on this issue in Commonwealth v. Barsell, 424 Mass. 737 (1997) (vacating state prison sentence for conviction for solicitation to commit murder, on grounds that solicitation is an offense at common law and thus merely a misdemeanor, and noting, “The task of revising the schedule of punishments, long overdue though it may be, must be undertaken by the Legislature.”)

Bill Text

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