Accomplice v. Conspiracy Liability

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Accomplice v. Conspiracy Liability

Postby robertsampson » Mon May 08, 2017 2:33 pm

When can someone be a conspirator, but not an accomplice, if the crime was completed (and the defendant was not the principle actor)?

Please consider this hypo:
Person X tells person Y that he is going to commit a crime. Person Y says “I encourage you to do it,” and that is all that Person Y had to do with the crime. Person X then commits the crime. Is Person Y an accomplice?

Thanks for your help.

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Re: Accomplice v. Conspiracy Liability

Postby kellyfrost » Mon May 08, 2017 3:10 pm

When an individual takes on an active role in the planning of a crime, the crime may instead be one of conspiracy. A conspirator agrees with others to commit a future crime, while an accomplice assists, in some way, in the actual commission of a crime. Furthermore, unlike accomplices to a crime, conspirators can be guilty even if their plan is not completed.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Accomplice v. Conspiracy Liability

Postby Dante181 » Mon May 08, 2017 4:23 pm

Under the common law, once a conspiracy to commit a felony is formed, all conspirators are liable if any conspirator commits that felony. So in this hypo, assuming Person Y and Person X has formed a conspiracy (which they probably have), Person Y is going to be liable for the felony itself, along with a separate charge for conspiracy to commit whatever crime.

Under the Model Penal Code, the substantive offense isn't automatically imputed to all conspirators if any one conspirator commits the substantive felony that the conspiracy revolved around. So in this hypo, Person Y will be charged with conspiracy, but might have a way out of being hit with the substantive offense if they can prove that they didn't aid or attempt to aid in the commission of the felony that the conspiracy revolved around.

However, this is a pretty low bar. Person Y encouraging Person X to commit the crime might be sufficient to constitute aiding in the commission of the crime.


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Re: Accomplice v. Conspiracy Liability

Postby B90 » Mon May 08, 2017 5:56 pm

Conspiracy and accomplice are 2 SEPERATE crimes. The prosecutor will charge whichever one applies. If both apply, s/he will charge both. Its the same concept as assault, battery, or both.

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