People v. Luparello
187 Cal.App.3d 410, 231 Cal.Rptr. 832 (1987)
Luparello was interested in
the wherabouts of his ex-girlfriend. He asked his friends to check with a
guy named Martin.
Luparello told his buddies
to get the information "at any cost."
The friends went and
confronted Martin, but he didn't give them the information. So they came
back later and shot him dead.
Luparello was arrested and
charged with murder.
The Trial Court convicted
Luparello of first-degree murder.
Luparello argued that he
never wanted his friends to kill Martin, he just wanted them to rough the
guy up a bit.
However, the Trial Court
found that he had aided and abetted
the crime by encouraging his friends into committing a nefarious act.
The Appellate Court upheld the
Luparello argued that he did
not have an intent (aka a mens
rea) to commit murder. However, the
Appellate Court found that was not required.
Luparello's liability was
vicarious. "He is guilty not only of the offense he intended to
facilitate or encourage, but also of any reasonably foreseeable offence
committed by the person he aids of abets."
In a concurrence it was argued
that Luparello did not have an intent
or even knowledge of the
killing. At best, Luparello was criminally negligent in failing to foresee that his friend might
kill Martin. Criminal negligence makes one guilty or involuntary manslaughter, not first-degree murder.
The concurrence felt that
the doctrine was flawed because it gave Luparello the same mens rea as the shooter, resulting in a too severe penalty.
Basically, this case says that
you can be criminally culpable for the crimes of your associates if you
encourage them to act, even if they then take further actions you did not intend.
The further actions must be
reasonably foreseeable though.
"An aider and abettor
or co-conspirator is liable not only for those crimes committed by a
co-felon which he intended or agreed to facilitate, but also for any
additional crimes which are reasonably foreseeable."
Conversely, under the Model
Penal Code §2.06(3), a person can
only be held criminally culpable for offences "fairly envisaged in
the purposes of the association. But when a different crime has been
committed, thus involving conduct not within the conscious objectives of
the accomplice, then he is not liable for it."