The police sent a snitch
(Miller) to buy an illegal handgun from Roy. Roy referred Miller to Ross.
Miller went to Ross, but Ross robbed him instead of selling him the gun.
Roy was arrested and charged
with armed robbery.
Because Roy and Ross were
involved in a scheme to sell illegal guns, Roy was an accomplice to any crimes Ross committed.
The Trial Court convicted
Miller of armed robbery. He
Roy argued that he had no
idea Ross was going to rob Miller.
The Appellate Court overturned
The Appellate Court found
that Roy could only be criminally culpable for crimes that are "the
natural and probable consequence" of the initial crime.
It was not reasonably
foreseeable that Ross would rob
Miller, so Roy couldn't be held accountable for the crime.
The general rule is that 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.
So if Roy and Ross planned
to rob Miller, and Ross stabbed him in the course of the robbery, then
Roy could be accountable. But in this case Roy could only be held
accountable for crimes that were in the "ordinary course of
events," and it is not typical that people selling illegal guns rob
their customers instead.
Under the Model Penal Code
§2.06(3), "the liability of an
accomplice ought not to be extended beyond the purpose that he