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Accomplice Liability Outline

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This is an extract of our Accomplice Liability document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of New York University School Of Law students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Criminal Law Outlines. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Accountability for the Acts of Others/Accomplice Liability

Punishment o
Accomplice charged as if he/she committed crime itself; charged with same crime as person who actually committed the crime
Types of accomplice o
Accomplice less culpable than principal (lookout/bank robber)
Accomplice more culpable than principal (seller/distributor)
Cannot impose individual criminal vicarious liability - violates due process o
Guminga: cannot convict store owner with vicarious liability if he did not know or authorize the waitress giving alcohol to minors

Also cannot impose vicarious parental liability (encourage oversight and deter juvenile crime VS. encourages overly restrictive parenting and disproportionate enforcement on poor single parents)

But criminal entity (corporate) liability ok o
Policy: people have free will and cannot control each other
Requirements: mens rea + actus reus (NOT causation)

MR does most of the work because actus reus is minimal o
Conduct: purpose

D must intend to aid and encourage the commission of the crime

Hicks (Native American trio)/Gladstone (directions to marijuana seller,
did not associate himself with the centure) - knowledge of conduct is not enough,
need intention that the conduct will be committed

Note: line between knowledge and intent is difficulty to draw

Evidence of purpose

Verbal evidence/words of encouragement

Recorded writing - diary or letter

Financial support to principal/financial stake

Personal interest/stake of accomplice in commission of crime

Associating oneself with the venture

Prior negative relationship with the victim (old enemy)

Contextual clues/deviation from normal behavior

Offer specialized help


Minority jx: knowledge that conduct will occur is sufficient if crime is serious

Fountain - D knows that handing the knife to fellow inmate will cause inmate to stab and skill prison guard

Policy: deterring commission of serious crimes

If no Fountain, infer intent from serious crime: Argue that no one would assist someone else in the serious crime unless they intended for the conduct to happen

More serious the crime, more likely to infer intent

Show thus knowledge plus

Stake in the venture

No legitimate use of goods or services

Volume of goods or services have no legitimate use
Legislative equivalent of Fountain - Some states have passed statutes that only require knowledge for conduct (NY 115.05)

Criminal facilitation if believing that he/she probably rendering aid to class A felony, engages in conduct providing means and opportunity for commission

This is often used to charge romantic partners and family members of offender
What counts as serious crime?

Crimes involves materials that have no lawful purpose

Crimes involves materials of such quantity that they have no lawful purpose
Attendant Circumstances: Ambiguous
MPC: Ambiguous, court can decide whether to use (1) same mens rea or
(2) purpose/knowledge depending on the case

Ex. B gives A gun without knowing A is a felon and cannot possess guns (AC) & mens rea for this AC in underlying crime is SL
Consider whether the A and P have the same basis of knowledge by looking at the facts/circumstances of the case
Policy for same mens rea

SAME basis of knowledge (due to presence, conversation etc.)

Ex. If bank is AC in robbery offense, know that it is a bank from the conversation, presence not necessary

Encourage both principal and accomplices to investigate and do due diligence (of age, felon status, etc.)

Type of attendant circumstance that does not require special knowledge/presence to make a judgement

Deterrence effect - prevent harm by deterring careless behavior

Invoke legislative policies for the MR of the underlying crime

Age is AC, legislative purpose to protect young people from sexual exploitation
Policy for awareness

DIFFERENT basis of knowledge/different level of awareness
(warrants higher MR) (due to non presence etc.)

Ex. If age if AC in rape offense, don't know that person is underage because not present/proximate and cannot see her (unlike the principal)


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