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"chain" conspiracy

Conspiracy in which various defendants perform different acts toward the accomplishment of a single criminal purpose

"wheel" conspiracy

Conspiracy in which person at center (hub) directs one or more defendants in separate conspiracies (spoke) to accomplish criminal purpose


One who, with knowledge that a crime was committed, assists the perpetrator (s) in hiding evidence of the crime or in escaping, trial or imprisonment. Not treated as a principal in underlying crime

Actus reus

The "guilty" or "criminal" act. Every crime requires both a guilty act and a corresponding guilty mind


Inchoate crime: Defendant enters a residence or place of business with the intent to commit a felony therein


Inchoate crime: Defendant tries to commit a criminal act and fails


Inchoate crime: Two or more persons plan together to commit a criminal act

Factual impossibility

A defense to a charge of attempt, asserting that there was not criminal attempt because it was factually impossible to commit the target crime

General intent

The intent to commit the act itself without reference to any further criminal purpose

Inchoate crime

An act, criminal in and of itself, committed with the specific intent to accomplish a second criminal purpose

Legal impossibility

A defense to a charge of attempt, asserting that there was no criminal attempt because even if the intended act were completed it would not constitute a crime

Mens rea

"Guilty" or "criminal" mind. The mental state of the defendant must coincide with the act and be sufficient for the type of crime charged (eg: a negligence state of mind cannot support a charge of intentional crime)


Inchoate crime: Other that conspiracy, when the intended crime is accomplished the inchoate crime "merges" with (is not charged in addition to ) the completed crime

Overt act

In any prosecution for conspiracy, prosecution must show some act, not necessarily criminal, done in order to carry out the object of the conspiracy

Parties to crime

Degrees of culpability for crime depending on the defendant's relationship to the actual commission of the crime


All persons involved in instigating, planning, committing or assisting in commission of crime. Does not include accessories


Inchoate crime: One person asks, incites another to commit a crime

Specific intent

The intent to accomplish some criminal purpose in addition to the act itself (eg: entry into a building with intent to commit a larceny or felony therein)

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