Conspiracy Elements:
  • 1. Agreement
  • 2. Between at least 2 people (MPC: "agree" permits conviction even if both sides don't agree, like an undercover police officer)
  • 3. With purpose to enter into the agreement
  • 4. Overt act in furtherance of that agreement
    • WELL BEFORE preparation, only very MINOR act required
  • 5. Purpose to promote unlawful act of conspiracy
    • SOME: Knowledge that the act is unlawful
  • Meeting of the minds that can be proven at least circumstantially--not the contractual level of agreement necessary.
  • Limited evidence required, limited hearsay exception, get punishment of underlying crime (in some states at least).
Pinkerton doctrine: everyone is guilty of every crime by conspirators (also hearsay exemption!)

Wharton Rule:
  • Where underlying offense REQUIRES conspiracy (bribery, for example), cannot also charge conspiracy.
People v. Lauria
  • Prostitutes used answering service
  • Did he know what he was aiding? Yes. "Intentional" aiding (purposeful/knowing) in traditional terms.
Can sometimes get conspirators for accessory (aiding and abetting, essentially)
  • Depends on state: sometimes need "purposeful"

Should KNOWING be enough for conspiracy, or should we require PURPOSEFUL? (I.e., selling gun knowing it is intended to be used to kill someone.)

Overt Act:
Yates v. United States
  • Communists who allegedly plan to overthrow gov’t
  • Public meetings enough for overt act req’ment? YES.
  • Obviously can be a very political crime...
Chain Conspiracies:
United States v. Bruno
  • Tried to say not one conspiracy, but rather 3 (drug smugglers, middlemen, two groups of retailers).
  • Court says knew there would be further sales, community interest in what happened and all knew what needed to happen to succeed in larger enterprise.
  • Success of one part dependent on success of whole.
  • Could conceivably extend this to buyers of drugs, too, although that hasn’t typically been done.

Wheel Conspiracies:
Kotteakos v. United States
  • Matters whether all separate loans could be considered one wheel conspiracy
Hypo: living in prison and not doing anything there, can still be liable for conspiracy
  • Didn’t withdraw from conspiracy
  • I.e., didn’t tell everyone in the conspiracy!

People v. Sisselman
  • Argues that since Patterson an undercover cop, Sisselman couldn’t be the "sole and motivating" factor in preventing the crime.
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