Conspiracy – two or more persons operating in tandem, directly or indirectly, to perform an criminal act using lawful means, or a lawful objective using criminal means

     This page is continued from Criminal Law Self-Help >>>> Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws >>>> Types of Crimes Necessarily Committed by Two or More Persons Working Together:

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conspiracy:

1. An agreement between two or more persons to accomplish together a criminal or unlawful act or to achieve by criminal or unlawful means an act not in itself criminal or unlawful.  16 Am J2d Consp § 1.

Conspiracy is a criminal offense, a misdemeanor in some jurisdictions, a felony in others.  16 Am J2d Consp §§ 2, 3.

Conspiracy is also a wrong which will constitute a cause for a civil action16 Am J2d Consp § 43.

The cause of action is the damage suffered.  it is the civil wrong resulting in damage, and not the conspiracy which constitutes the cause of action.  Mox, Inc. v Woods, 202 Cal 675, 262 P 302. [1]

1. An agreement between two or more persons to engage in a criminal act or to accomplish a legal objective by criminal or unlawful means.  Conspiracy is a criminal offense (a criminal conspiracy); it is also a wrong which is grounds for a civil action if damage is suffered (a civil conspiracy). [2]

1. A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act, or some act which is innocent in itself, but becomes unlawful when done by the concerted action of the conspirators, or for the purpose of using criminal or unlawful means to the commission of an act not in itself unlawful.  Conspiracy is a consultation or agreement between two or more persons, either falsely to accuse another of a crime punishable by law; or wrongfully to injure or prejudice a third person, or any body of men, in any manner; or to commit any offense punishable by law; or to do any act with intent to prevent the course of justice; or to affect a legal purpose with a corrupt intent, or by improper means. [3]

1. An agreement by two or more persons to commit an unlawful act, coupled with an intent to achieve the agreement’s objective, and (in most states) action or conduct that furthers the agreement; a combination for an unlawful purpose. 18 USCA § 371. Conspiracy is a separate offense from the crime that is the object of the conspiracy.  A conspiracy ends when the unlawful act has been committed or (in some states) when the agreement has been been abandoned.  A conspiracy does not automatically end if the conspiracy’s object is defeated. See Model Penal Code § 5.03(7); U.S. v. Jiminez Recio, 537 U.S. 270, 123 S. Ct. 819 (2003). — aka criminal conspiracy. [4]

     Excerpt from Krulewitch v. U.S., 336 U.S. 440, 445-48, 69 S.Ct. 716, 719-20 (1949) (Jackson, J., concurring):

     “An elastic, sprawling, & pervasive offense… so vague that it almost defies definition.  Despite certain elementary and essential elements, it also, chameleon-like, takes on a special coloration from each of the many independent offenses on which it may be overlaid. It is always ‘predominantly mental in composition’ because it consists primarily of a meeting of minds & an intent.” [6]

     Excerpt from P.H. Winfield’s A Textbook of Law of Tort § 128 , 434 (5th ed. 1950):

     “When two or more persons combine for the purpose of inflicting upon another person any injury which is unlawful in itself, or which is rendered unlawful by the mode in which it is inflicted, & in either case the other person suffers damage, they commit the tort of conspiracy.” [6]

Statute of Limitations for Conspiracy Cases:

    Conspiracy is a continuing offense.  For statutes such as 18 U.S.C. § 371, which require “an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy“, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the last overt act. [7]  

    Section 3282 of Title 18, United States Code states that, “prosecution for a non-capital offense shall be instituted within five years after the offense was committed.[8]

Various Terms pertaining to Conspiracy:

conspirator n. (15c) Someone who takes part in a conspiracy.

  • coconspirator (1836) Someone who engages in a criminal conspiracy with another; a fellow conspirator. — aka co-conspirator.
  • unindicted coconspirator (1936) Someone who has been identified by law enforcement as a member of a conspiracy, but who has not been named in the fellow conspirator’s indictment.  *  Prosecutors typically name someone an unindicted coconspirator because any statement that the unindicted coconspirator has made in the course and furtherance of the conspiracy is admissible against the indicted defendants. — aka unindicted conspirator.

conspiratorial adj. (1856) 1. Of, relating to, or involving a conspiracy or one or more conspirators <conspiratorial plotting>.  2. (Of an expression, tone of voice, or mannerism) suggesting the presence of a conspiracy <conspiratorial whispers>.

conspire vb. (14c) To engage in conspiracy; to join in a conspiracy. [3] 

Laws Against Conspiracy:

18 U.S.C. § 241 – Conspiracy against rights

42 U.S.C. § 1985 – Conspiracy to Interfere with civil rights  – 2 or more persons depriving rights.

Various Types of Conspiracies:

chain conspiracy (1959) A single conspiracy in which each person is responsible for a distinct act within the overall plan, such as an agreement to produce, import, and distribute narcotics in which each person performs only one function.  *  All participants are Interested in the overall scheme and liable for all other participants’ acts in furtherance of that scheme.

civil conspiracy (1901) 1. A combination of two or more persons by concerted action to accomplish an unlawful purpose, or a lawful purpose by criminal or unlawful means, to the injury of another.  16 Am J2d Consp § 43.  To sustain an action, damage must have resulted from the combination.  To warrant an injunction, damage must be threatened.  National Fireproofing Co. v Mason Builders’ Asso. (CA2 NY) 169 F 253. [1]  1. A combination of two or more persons acting together to accomplish an unlawful purpose, or to accomplish a lawful purpose by unlawful or criminal means, to the injury of another.  To support a cause of action, for civil conspiracy, damage must have resulted from the combination. [2]  1. An agreement between two or more persons to commit an unlawful act that causes damage to a person or property. [3]

conspiracy in restraint of trade See RESTRAINT or TRADE.

conspiracy to defraud (18c) 1. A secret plan by two or more people to cheat a person or organization. 2. The common-law and (in some jurisdictions) statutory offense consisting in an agreement between two or more persons to use dishonest means that will harm or imperil the economic interests of another, or that will influence the exercise of a public duty.  *  Traditionally, the defrauding need not have been the primary purpose of the fraudfeasors’ conduct; it is enough for the fraudfeasors to know that their actions will necessarily result in the defrauding of victims.

conspiracy to infringe (1908) Intellectual property. An agreement by two or more persons to commit an act that would interfere with the exclusive rights of a patent, copyright, or trademark owner.  *  This action is commonly recognized in trademark law. 18 USCA § 371; 17 USCA § 506(a)(1).  The Copyright Act does not provide a basis for alleging a conspiracy to infringe, but an action is recognized by some states. The Patent Act provides no basis for an action asserting conspiracy to infringe because patent law covers only acts, not threats of acts.

conspiracy to injure (18c) 1. A tort that occurs when two or more persons combine to harm someone else, whether physically, mentally, or economically.  2. English law. A tort that occurs when two or more persons combine to damage another’s business through means other than normal commercial competition.

conspiracy to monopolize (1890) Antitrust. A conspiracy to take exclusive control of a commercial market.  * Under § 2 of the Sherman Act, a conspiracy to monopolize exists if there is a conspiracy or concerted action directed at a substantial part of interstate commerce with the intent to acquire monopoly power.

intracorporate conspiracy (1960) A conspiracy existing between a corporation and its own officers, agents, or employees.  *  To be prosecutable under federal law, the conspiracy must involve at least two persons (i.e., not just the corporation and one person). 18 USCA § 371. A corporation cannot conspire with its employees, and its employees, acting in the scope of their employment, conspire among themselves. McAndrew v. Logkheed Martin Corp, 206 F.3d 1031, 1035 (11th Cir. 2000) .

intra-enterprise conspiracy (1965) Antitrust. A cons pi racy existing between two subsidiaries, divisions, or other parts of the same firm. — aka bathtub conspiracy.

seditious conspiracy (1893) A criminal conspiracy to forcibly (l) overthrow or destroy the U.S. government, (2) oppose its authority. (3) prevent the execution of its laws. or (4) seize or possess its property. 18 USCA § 2384.

wheel conspiracy (1959) A conspiracy in which a single member or group (the “hub”) separately agrees with two or more other members or groups (the “spokes”).  *  The person or group at the hub is the only party liable for all conspiracies. — aka rimless-wheel conspiracy; circle conspiracy; hub-and-spoke conspiracy.

 

wet conspiracy Criminal law. Slang. A drug case in which the police, after investigating an alleged drug ring, successfully recover contraband.  Cf. DRY CONSPIRACY. [1]

Rules and Doctrines
pertaining to Conspiracy Cases:

corrupt-motive doctrine – . the defunct rule that conspiracy is punishable only if the agreement was entered into with an evil purpose, not merely with an intent to do the illegal act.

coconspirator’s rule – an exception to the hearsay rule: one conspirator’s acts and statements, if made during and in furtherance of the conspiracy, are admissible against a codefendant even if made in the codefendant’s absence.

 

Wharton’s rule – an agreement by two or more persons to commit a particular crime cannot be prosecuted as a conspiracy if the crime was committed mutually, and not involving individuals outside their activity.

withdrawal from conspiracy – a conspirator who withdraws from a conspiracy before it is carried out may avoid prosecution if she discloses the conspiracy to law enforcement authorities.

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     “Conspiracy — a game invented for the amusement of unoccupied men of rank.

Joseph Addison (1 May 1672 – 17 June 1719) English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. [9]

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References:

Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[2]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[3]: “Conspiracy” on Black’s Law Dictionary Second Ed.:  http://thelawdictionary.org/conspiracy/

[4]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[5]: Krulewitch v. U.S., 336 U.S. 440, 445-48, 69 S.Ct. 716, 719-20 (1949) (Jackson, J., concurring)

[6]: P.H. Winfield’s A Textbook of Law of Tort § 128 , 434 (5th ed. 1950)

[7]:  “Offices of the United States Attorneys”:  U.S. Attorneys » Resources » U.S. Attorneys’ Manual »Criminal Resource Manual » CRM 500-999 » Criminal Resource Manual 601-699: 652. Statute of Limitations for Conspiracy: https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-652-statute-limitations-conspiracy

[8]:  “Offices of the United States Attorneys”:  U.S. Attorneys » Resources » U.S. Attorneys’ Manual »Criminal Resource Manual » CRM 500-999 » Criminal Resource Manual 601-699: 650. Length of Limitations Period  https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-650-length-limitations-period

[9]: Thesaurus of Quotations by Edmund Fuller (1941).  Crown Publishers.

References:

Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

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