A defense attorney from Phoenix was recently sentenced to three years in prison after she was convicted of helping her husband and a gang of criminal associates, according to a recent report.
Carmen Lynn Fischer Garcia was charged with helping her husband, a prison inmate whom she had represented as legal counsel, by funneling cash and information back and forth from a criminal gang to prisoners. She pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of assisting a street gang and received a sentence of three years. The state bar has also been asked to suspend her law license.
Facilitation Crimes: Gray Legal Area
A facilitation crime is one that springs from helping someone else commit a crime even if you were not directly involved in the action. For example, if you bought a gun for someone who was not legally allowed to own one and that person then used the gun to commit a crime, you might be charged as an accessory or with some type of facilitating criminal charge.
However, facilitation charges can be very difficult to prove. For example, what if a young man drove his friend to the store because the friend said that he wanted to buy something, then the friend pulled out a gun and robbed the store? If the driver ran from the scene and did not help his friend escape, it would be difficult to prove that he knew what was going to happen in advance or that he had a part in planning it.
On the other hand, people go to jail every day for facilitation crimes. All that is really necessary to secure a conviction is for the prosecutor to convince a jury that the person charged knew that the crime was taking place or would take place in the future. This is particularly true in the case of a violent crime. If someone else is hurt or killed, a facilitation charge may be easy to bring against the person who helps the violent criminal.
What Should I Do If I Am Caught Up In A Criminal Enterprise?
If someone you know tries to bring you in as an accessory to a criminal act, the best thing you can do is to remove yourself from the entire situation as quickly as possible. Talk to a defense attorney if you have questions or feel your legal rights may have been compromised.