An ex-brother-in-law of a friend of mine was arrested for solicitation of murder. He wanted my friend killed. I'm concerned about how soon he might get out and try again. Are they likely to be able to plead down to a lesser charge?
It sounds like there was no actual murder committed which affects the answer. The Texas Penal Code provides a specific section for those who solicit others to commit offenses. (Murder is a first degree felony and capital murder means murder for money, murder in the course of theft, murder and another felony such as sexual assault, etc.)
§ 15.03. CRIMINAL SOLICITATION.
(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent that a capital felony or felony of the first degree be committed, he requests, commands, or attempts to induce another to engage in specific conduct that, under the circumstances surrounding his conduct as the actor believes them to be, would constitute the felony or make the other a party to its commission.
........(c) It is no defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the person solicited is not criminally responsible for the felony solicited;
(2) the person solicited has been acquitted, has not been prosecuted or convicted, has been convicted of a different offense or of a different type or class of offense, or is immune from prosecution;
(3) the actor belongs to a class of persons that by definition of the felony solicited is legally incapable of committing the offense in an individual capacity; or
(4) the felony solicited was actually committed.
(d) An offense under this section is:
(1) a felony of the first degree if the offense solicited is a capital offense; or
(2) a felony of the second degree if the offense solicited is a felony of the first degree.
SO - if the solicitation was for murder (and not to gain insurance money, etc., but just because the solicitor was mad or whatever), then the X b-i-l would be guilty of a 2nd degree felony which carries from 2 to 20 years in prison. If it was for insurance money, then it is a 1st degree felony which carries from 5 to 99 years in prison.
If the case has not yet be settled, be aware that a plea bargain can be reached that could be probation (not likely), it could be for a lesser offense (the 2nd degree down to a 3rd degree which would be 2 to 10 years in prison), and the sentence could be anywhere within the ranges. Once the person goes to prison, if he does, the parole board takes control of when he gets out once he is eligible - and it is generally not after serving the entire sentence.
Your friend should be in contact with the district attorney's office about what is going on in the case, and giving input on what your friend thinks should happen (which is not controlling but considered.)
Once released on parole, if he is, a condition of his parole will likely be no contact and stay completely away from your friend. Your friend should be in contact with the parole board to learn when he will be released and to protest parole if desired.