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Conspiracy - Conspiracy And Complicity

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Conspiracy is not only a substantive crime. It also serves as a basis for holding one person liable for the crimes of others in cases where application of the usual doctrines of complicity would not render that person liable. Thus, one who enters into a conspiratorial relationship is liable for even reasonably foreseeable crime committed by every other member of the conspiracy in furtherance of its objectives, whether or not he knew of the crimes or aided in their commission. The rationale is that

criminal acts done in furtherance of a conspiracy may be sufficiently dependent upon the encouragement and support of the group as a whole to warrant treating each member as a causal agent to each act. Under this view, which of the conspirators committed the substantive offence would be less significant in determining the defendant's liability than the fact that the crime was performed as part of a larger division of labor to which the defendant had also contributed his efforts [Developments in the Law, p. 998].

This rationale, however, becomes attenuated in many situations in which the doctrine is applied. For example, in the leading case of Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946), a defendant who had earlier conspired with his brother to operate an illegal still was held liable for his brother's later acts of operating the still, despite the fact that by the time those acts were committed, the defendant was in prison for another offense.

Although dilution of the strict concepts of causality and intention may be required to cope with the dangers of organized crime, serious objections have been raised to this aspect of the law of conspiracy. Liability for substantive crimes is predicated on the loose evidentiary standards of conspiracy law; liability attaches for crimes not actually intended or even necessarily foreseen; and holding each member of a conspiracy liable for all crimes committed by the group without regard to the character of that person's role within the group yields overly broad liability without penal justification. This is particularly true in those jurisdictions that allow the finding of a single conspiracy, rather than several smaller ones, in cases of large, sprawling, and loosely confederated criminal enterprises. As a consequence, some states, following the lead of the Model Penal Code, have eliminated this feature of traditional conspiracy by declaring that one is liable for the criminal actions of another only if he is made liable by the doctrines of the law of complicity.

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almost 6 years ago

Dear Reader, I'm a pro se litagant at this present time being a victim of judicial corruption and also was violated by Judge(s)of my constitional rights and due process rights by not allowing my evidence in and taking parole arguments of an ex-convict for credibility especially when my husband fraudelently conveyed community property into his daughter's name and filed a divorce afterwards. please contact me at my email address: navy1994veteran@yahoo.com

Thank You.

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over 7 years ago

Dear Sir/madam: Your article is very interesting. I would like to know, where I could find case laws on Conspiracy. In my divorce case the trial judge and the attorney's and the witnesses conspired to give custody of my children to my ex-wife. They also conspired to transfer to transfer my case to another court and they put me in jail for not singnind consent on the application fro a passport for my little daughter. Please visit my website: www. justiceisblind.info for more information. Please inform me whether you can help to find justice and to prosecute the currupted judges and attorneys.