Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

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zeth006
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Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby zeth006 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:22 pm

I'm a bit confused on the distinction between two. Do the two pretty much almost always overlap?


Let's take a hypothetical. Say A, B, and C make an agreement to rob a bank, which constitutes a conspiracy. All 3 enter the bank together, nab the money, then run off.

Would we say all 3 are guilty for conspiracy and accomplice liability? Do I need to mention a principal?

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby Baylan » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:10 pm

Accomplice liability is a theory of guilt, not its own crime. They are guilty of bank robbery, as well as conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Aiding and abetting is another issue entirely, and happens after the fact of the crime (which would be if they went to robber A's mom's house and she knowingly gave her car up to them for the robbers to escape). This is assuming you are under the MPC (edit). Common Law is a little different.

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zeth006
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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby zeth006 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:20 pm

Baylan wrote:Accomplice liability is a theory of guilt, not its own crime. They are guilty of bank robbery, as well as conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Aiding and abetting is another issue entirely, and happens after the fact of the crime (which would be if they went to robber A's mom's house and she knowingly gave her car up to them for the robbers to escape). This is assuming you are under the MPC (edit). Common Law is a little different.


So for exam purposes, am I to assume the two are exclusive?

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joobacca
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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby joobacca » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:42 pm

under pinkerton, you don't need to have purpose to aid/blah. you need that for accomplice liability of crime X. you can't have a conspiracy for a reckless/negligent crime. also, when you withdraw from a conspiracy you're still liable for the stuff before. but if you undo your aid, then you are absolved. if you have a conspiracy, you're going to have to think accomplice liability as well (unless it's some unexpected situation in which accomplice helps out out of the blue). conspiracy and accomplice to crime x are separate. the defendant in the fact problem will likely have to dodge both.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby uwb09 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:35 pm

zeth006 wrote:I'm a bit confused on the distinction between two. Do the two pretty much almost always overlap?


Let's take a hypothetical. Say A, B, and C make an agreement to rob a bank, which constitutes a conspiracy. All 3 enter the bank together, nab the money, then run off.

Would we say all 3 are guilty for conspiracy and accomplice liability? Do I need to mention a principal?

In your hypo, all three are guilty of conspiracy the moment they commit an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy (buying ski masks to commit the robbery per-se)

Accomplice liability would only come into play if either A,B, or C didn't actually commit the crime, but helped in the commission of the crime. In your hypo since all three technically committed the crime, there is no accomplice, since each is guilty of the crime itself.

Think of accomplice liability as a way to convict someone of a crime, when they haven't committed the actus reus of the statute, but have aligned themselves in some way with someone who has, so that you can convict them of the crime anyway.

For example, let's say B and C go inside to rob the bank, and A stays outside in the car as a look out, with the engine running ready to haul ass so that they make a quicker get away once the alarm trips. In this sense he is intending to help, intending for the robbery to succeed, and he actually does help if they get away.

Under common law, I think you actually need to help the crime, under MPC you only need to perform an act where you attempt to help.

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zeth006
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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby zeth006 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:47 pm

uwb09 wrote:
zeth006 wrote:I'm a bit confused on the distinction between two. Do the two pretty much almost always overlap?


Let's take a hypothetical. Say A, B, and C make an agreement to rob a bank, which constitutes a conspiracy. All 3 enter the bank together, nab the money, then run off.

Would we say all 3 are guilty for conspiracy and accomplice liability? Do I need to mention a principal?

In your hypo, all three are guilty of conspiracy the moment they commit an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy (buying ski masks to commit the robbery per-se)

Accomplice liability would only come into play if either A,B, or C didn't actually commit the crime, but helped in the commission of the crime. In your hypo since all three technically committed the crime, there is no accomplice, since each is guilty of the crime itself.

Think of accomplice liability as a way to convict someone of a crime, when they haven't committed the actus reus of the statute, but have aligned themselves in some way with someone who has, so that you can convict them of the crime anyway.

For example, let's say B and C go inside to rob the bank, and A stays outside in the car as a look out, with the engine running ready to haul ass so that they make a quicker get away once the alarm trips. In this sense he is intending to help, intending for the robbery to succeed, and he actually does help if they get away.

Under common law, I think you actually need to help the crime, under MPC you only need to perform an act where you attempt to help.



Thanks. Think that clears things up a bit.

So in that way, complicity is a liability extender. The cases where someone could be accused for complicity in the commission of ____ and for conspiracy would be (as an example) cases where a guy is involved in a conspiracy for robbery and is later on an accomplice to murder[gave a gun to one of his partners who gratuitously shot a pedestrian for no apparent reason]. The only problem is even if the guy could somehow get off on accomplice to murder, he'd get smacked for intent to kill murder by US v. Alvarez's version of Pinkerton.
Last edited by zeth006 on Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby beach_terror » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:55 pm

Baylan wrote: Aiding and abetting is another issue entirely, and happens after the fact of the crime (which would be if they went to robber A's mom's house and she knowingly gave her car up to them for the robbers to escape). This is assuming you are under the MPC (edit). Common Law is a little different.

To my understanding, this is incorrect.

The MPC merged principals in the first/second, accessories, and accomplices into essentially two categories. The first are principals + accomplices + accessories before the fact, who can aid and abet before the crime is committed and during the commission of the crime. They are all treated more or less the same by the law as the person who actually commits the crime (and under the MPC are charged separately and can be convicted even if the principal is acquitted).

Accessories after the fact are treated less harshly, and special relationships can bar charging/conviction (family members, etc.)

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby uwb09 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:09 pm

zeth006 wrote:Thanks. Think that clears things up a bit.

So in that way, complicity is a liability extender. The cases where someone could be accused for complicity in ____ and for conspiracy would be (as an example) cases where a guy is involved in a conspiracy for robbery and is later on an accomplice to murder[gave a gun to one of his partners who gratuitously shot a pedestrian for no apparent reason]. The only problem is even if the guy could somehow get off on accomplice to murder, he'd get smacked for intent to kill murder by US v. Alvarez's version of Pinkerton.

The way I look at it is, conspiracy is in and of itself it's own crime. It's an agreement to commit a crime, and an overt act in furtherance of that, case closed.

Accomplice liability, like you said, it a liability extender, a way in which to hold someone who has the mens rea element for a statute, and was a part of the chain of causation for the crime, but didn't commit the actus reus of the crime.

Once you start talking about pinkerton liability, you are getting into what was the scope of the conspiracy; were the acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, if not specifically agreed upon, foreseeable?

We didn't have US v. Alvarez, so i dunno what that is haha

But in your hypo, conspiracy to commit robbery, kind of carries a foreseeability that there might be violence, since most robbery statutes include a "with threat of violence" component. Even more so in that A gave B a gun, it is reasonably foreseeable that B, by threatening force, might shoot someone killing them.

In my analysis, A would be guilty of accomplice to homicide if he gave B the gun intentionally, he intended B to use the gun to commit a felony (under Hoselton), and that by giving B the gun, B used it to commit a felony.

It seems apparent that he intentionally gave him the gun from your hypo, and that he intentionally gave him the gun for the commission of a felony (robbery). It does not matter that he did not intend him to commit homicide, only that he intended his action to help in the commission of a felony. And the fact that B used the gun to commit homicide.

All the factors add up to accomplice liability for homicide.

And to conspiracy to commit homicide (pinkerton liability), since it doesn't appear A ever withdrew from the conspiracy at any point.

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zeth006
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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby zeth006 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:11 pm

uwb09 wrote:
zeth006 wrote:Thanks. Think that clears things up a bit.

So in that way, complicity is a liability extender. The cases where someone could be accused for complicity in ____ and for conspiracy would be (as an example) cases where a guy is involved in a conspiracy for robbery and is later on an accomplice to murder[gave a gun to one of his partners who gratuitously shot a pedestrian for no apparent reason]. The only problem is even if the guy could somehow get off on accomplice to murder, he'd get smacked for intent to kill murder by US v. Alvarez's version of Pinkerton.

The way I look at it is, conspiracy is in and of itself it's own crime. It's an agreement to commit a crime, and an overt act in furtherance of that, case closed.

Accomplice liability, like you said, it a liability extender, a way in which to hold someone who has the mens rea element for a statute, and was a part of the chain of causation for the crime, but didn't commit the actus reus of the crime.

Once you start talking about pinkerton liability, you are getting into what was the scope of the conspiracy; were the acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, if not specifically agreed upon, foreseeable?

We didn't have US v. Alvarez, so i dunno what that is haha

But in your hypo, conspiracy to commit robbery, kind of carries a foreseeability that there might be violence, since most robbery statutes include a "with threat of violence" component. Even more so in that A gave B a gun, it is reasonably foreseeable that B, by threatening force, might shoot someone killing them.

In my analysis, A would be guilty of accomplice to homicide if he gave B the gun intentionally, he intended B to use the gun to commit a felony (under Hoselton), and that by giving B the gun, B used it to commit a felony.

It seems apparent that he intentionally gave him the gun from your hypo, and that he intentionally gave him the gun for the commission of a felony (robbery). It does not matter that he did not intend him to commit homicide, only that he intended his action to help in the commission of a felony. And the fact that B used the gun to commit homicide.

All the factors add up to accomplice liability for homicide.

And to conspiracy to commit homicide (pinkerton liability), since it doesn't appear A ever withdrew from the conspiracy at any point.

Sorry the drawn out analysis, i've been living/breathing/sleeping torts the last 5 days, nice to do something other than torts.


Oh no, no harm done.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby clintonius » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:09 pm

Careful with attributing accomplice liability for the shooting of the pedestrian -- as I understand it, to be an accomplice, you have to intend to further the specific crime committed. And under jurisdictions that follow Luparello (all but 10 states, according to my crim prof), you would be on the hook for that specific crime plus any additional ones that are the "natural and probable consequence" of that act.

It's probably safe to assume that A (accomplice) gave the gun to his partner, P, for the robbery, yeah? If P killed the pedestrian while on a "frolic of his own," A would not be an accomplice in a non-Luparello jurisdiction. In a Luparello jx, you'd still have to show that the killing was a "natural and probable consequence," and there's a strong argument that it wasn't under the "frolic of one's own" defense. If P had killed someone during the robbery, that would be a different story. And you can still argue that the pedestrian killing was natural and probable -- if A was aware that the guy was known for going nuts and killing people randomly, and still handed him the gun, you could say that he should be held liable.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby uwb09 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:22 pm

clintonius wrote:Careful with attributing accomplice liability for the shooting of the pedestrian -- as I understand it, to be an accomplice, you have to intend to further the specific crime committed. And under jurisdictions that follow Luparello (all but 10 states, according to my crim prof), you would be on the hook for that specific crime plus any additional ones that are the "natural and probable consequence" of that act.

It's probably safe to assume that A (accomplice) gave the gun to his partner, P, for the robbery, yeah? If P killed the pedestrian while on a "frolic of his own," A would not be an accomplice in a non-Luparello jurisdiction. In a Luparello jx, you'd still have to show that the killing was a "natural and probable consequence," and there's a strong argument that it wasn't under the "frolic of one's own" defense. If P had killed someone during the robbery, that would be a different story. And you can still argue that the pedestrian killing was natural and probable -- if A was aware that the guy was known for going nuts and killing people randomly, and still handed him the gun, you could say that he should be held liable.

Ya sorry, the big case we worked off of to start accomplice liability was State v. Hoselton, where they followed a holding that stated "accomplice need have culpability required in statute", and the statute being charged with was "intent to commit a felony", so I accidentally generalized it in my previous post.

You are correct.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby kxz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:02 pm

I thought the crime of conspiracy is satisfied right when the agreement is made. It can only be undone when it is abandoned or something of that sort.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby Geist13 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:10 pm

kxz wrote:I thought the crime of conspiracy is satisfied right when the agreement is made. It can only be undone when it is abandoned or something of that sort.


There is another element that some conspirator needs to make some overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. But once that overt act is made, your liability is established by nothing more that your agreement because you don't have to be the one who makes the overt act.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby kxz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:34 pm

Looked back on my notes, I was partially right. An overt act is NOT required for 1st or 2nd degree felonies.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby zeth006 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:40 pm

clintonius wrote:Careful with attributing accomplice liability for the shooting of the pedestrian -- as I understand it, to be an accomplice, you have to intend to further the specific crime committed. And under jurisdictions that follow Luparello (all but 10 states, according to my crim prof), you would be on the hook for that specific crime plus any additional ones that are the "natural and probable consequence" of that act.

It's probably safe to assume that A (accomplice) gave the gun to his partner, P, for the robbery, yeah? If P killed the pedestrian while on a "frolic of his own," A would not be an accomplice in a non-Luparello jurisdiction. In a Luparello jx, you'd still have to show that the killing was a "natural and probable consequence," and there's a strong argument that it wasn't under the "frolic of one's own" defense. If P had killed someone during the robbery, that would be a different story. And you can still argue that the pedestrian killing was natural and probable -- if A was aware that the guy was known for going nuts and killing people randomly, and still handed him the gun, you could say that he should be held liable.



Ok, so recap of what's been discussed.

For exam purposes, I'd examine the fork in the road and say that in majority jurisdictions, A wouldn't be liable for the frolicky shooting without requisite mens rea.

But say we're in nat/prob consequence land. A gives the gun to after the robbery, but P decides to go on a shooting spree of his own. We'd have to pick apart the facts to determine whether (1) A had the mens rea [Purpose or Knowledge depending on the JXDN] to assist P in this shooting and whether (2) this was truly a "natural and probable consequence" of the crime A assisted P in committing. We'd then question whether the felony A assisted in which ended earlier was a dangerous one, which is robbery.


EDIT: This is where we dig deeper. Is a frolicky shooting the natural/probable consequence of a robbery? Most would say no. Yes, robbery's dangerous because it more often involves threat and/or use of force. But not to this extent.

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Re: Crim Law - Conspiracy vs. Accomplice Liability

Postby clintonius » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:18 am

I thought the issue of whether robbery was a dangerous felony was a non-Luparello jurisdiction requirement, but I could be wrong, and it's way too early for me to look that up. Other than that you're correct EXCEPT that Luparello (the "natural and probable consequences") is now applied in a majority of jurisdictions, so it would be a minority of JXs that require the mens rea for that specific crime.




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