Accomplice Liability and Conspiracy Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Accomplice Liability and Conspiracy Deck (15):

What is the principle in the first degree?

the person who actually commits the acts constituting the offense or uses an "innocent instrumentality" to commit the crime


What is an innocent instrumentality?

a non-culpable person, such as a mentally incompetent person, or a non-human agent, such as a trained animal


What is the principle in the second degree?

The person who intentionally assists the principal in the first degree and is present during the commission of the crime.

Presence can be actual or constructive (close enough to render assistance during the commission of the crime)


What is an Accessory before the fact?

assists before commission, but is not present at offense.


What is an Accessory after the fact?

assists after the crime in avoiding arrest, prosecution, or conviction. Today, is usually charged with a lesser crime.


What is required to prosecute an accomplice for a crime?

1. Physical (act requirement)
2. Psychological - mens rea
3. Assistance by omission (with duty)

Defendant must have two states of mind:
1. Intent to assist the primary party to commit the crime
2. The mental state required for the commission of the offense


Foster Case

Defendant's girlfriend robbed and raped. Defendant found the alleged rapist and gave his friend a knife to make sure the rapist did not go anywhere.

Rule: an accessory may be liable in aiding another if he acts intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence toward the result, depending on the mental state required by the substantive crime.


What are the elements of conspiracy?

1. Intent to enter into an agreement,
2. The intent to commit, or aid in the commission of, the act or acts constituting the target crime.

Conspiracy is a specific intent crime


What is the difference between how conspiracy and complicity are charged?

Conspiracy is its own crime - can be charged with "conspiracy to commit murder"

Complicity is not its own crime - no charge for complicity


What is an inchoate crime?

crimes that you can be arrested for before the crime occurs (attempted murder, conspiracy)

Conspiracy can happen before the crime is even attempted:
• The agreement is the crime.
• An overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy must occur in order to demonstrate the existence of the conspiracy.
○ Does not have to be a large or illegal act. Eg: obtaining a map, procuring a weapon, etc)


What is the merger doctrine?

No merger at common law - the defendant can be charged with the actual crime, and conspiracy (two crimes)

Merger required under MPC - an actor cannot be punished for both a conspiracy and the target crime.


What are the two approaches to agreements for a conspiracy?

Bilateral - Both parties must actually agree to the crime. One party cannot "fake" agreement. If he does, then there is no conspiracy

Unilateral - If the party believes that he is agreeing to a crime, then that is enough for conspiracy, whether the other party truly agrees or not. (MPC approach)

(Pacheco-deputy sheriff agrees to kill a drug buyer for an owner of a private investigation firm. Owner was working for the FBI. Court adopted Bilateral approach and determined no conspiracy because only one person really agreed)


What are the two elements of a conspiracy?

1. Intent to enter into an agreement,

2. The intent to commit, or aid in the commission of, the act or acts constituting the target crime.

Specific intent crime.


Swain Case - drive by shooting and charged with conspiracy and 2nd degree murder (implied malice).

Implied malice comes where there was an abandoned and malignant heart; extreme recklessness.

Rule: A conviction of conspiracy to commit murder requires a finding of intent to kill, and cannot be based on a theory of implied malice.


What is the Pinkerton Rule?

A conspirator may be liable for a crime committed by another member of the conspiracy even if that other crime was not part of the original agreement as long as the unintended crime was:
1. In furtherance of the conspiracy;
2. Within the scope of the conspiracy; and
3. A reasonably foreseeable consequence of the original agreement.

MPC rejects the Pinkerton Rule