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VII. Group Criminalty

Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups Show/Hide
  1. 1 Show/Hide More VII.A. Accomplice Liability
    Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups

    Most of the cases we have studied have involved only one criminal, and we have considered the culpability only of the principal actor committing the crime. In reality, however, many crimes implicate multiple people. Complicity is not actually a crime; rather, it is a theory of liability whereby a person can be criminally liable as an accomplice. In aiding a person who commits a crime, an accomplice becomes personally liable for the other person’s crime.

    Accomplice liability holds a person, as a result of his own actions, responsible for someone else’s actions. Increasing a person’s liability beyond the scope of his direct actions, however, risks overextending liability. Courts and legislatures often account for this by adjusting the mens rea requirement upward. How far should liability extend? To specifically intended results, to foreseeable results, or to all results that may occur? As you read these cases, note not only when courts attach accomplice liability, but also how far that liability extends.

    1. 1.2 Show/Hide More Short v. State
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
    2. 1.3 Show/Hide More State v. Gonzalez
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
    3. 1.4 Show/Hide More State v. Maxey
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
    4. 1.5 Show/Hide More State v. McVay
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
    5. 1.6 Show/Hide More Wilcox v. Jeffery
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
    6. 1.7 Show/Hide More State v. Tally
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
  2. 2 Show/Hide More VII.B. Conspiracy
    Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups

    Conspiracy, unlike complicity, is a standalone crime. Its requirements are very minimal: at common law, only an agreement to commit unlawful actions. The agreement, itself, is the actus reus. Under federal law, an act in furtherance is needed to seal the conspiracy.

    Often, proving conspiracy is much easier than proving a completed or attempted crime, and so conspiracy has become a favorite tool of prosecutors to lower the burden of proof, accumulate charges, or increase the number of people implicated in a crime. As you read these cases, consider the distinctions between conspiracy and complicity. Consider also how far liability extends. What is the mens rea for the crime of conspiracy itself? What mens rea is necessary for the subsequent crimes committed in furtherance of the conspiracy? How do the various formulations of conspiracy liability interact with the justifications of punishment—retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation?

    1. 2.2 Show/Hide More People v. Lauria
      Original Creator: Jeannie Suk Current Version: Griswold Reading Groups
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May 27, 2016

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Griswold Reading Groups

Harvard Law School

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