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Pinkerton v. United States

From lawbrain.com

Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946), was a criminal law case heard by the Supreme Court which dealt with conspiracy and the ability to charge a conspirator with the substantive crime.

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Summary of Case Facts

Two brothers who lived on the same farm conspired to commit a crime. Both brothers were convicted of conspiracy and for the substantive crimes while only one brother actually committed the substantive crimes in question. The brother who did not commit the substantive crimes appealed, contending that despite the conspiracy he should not be convicted of the substantive crimes as he did not commit them himself.


Can a conspirator who did not commit the substantive crime be convicted of those crimes committed by his co-conspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy in which they were both involved?

Holding and Law

Yes. The court held that a conspirator’s over act in the conspiracy may be held against all members of the conspiracy unless a conspirator takes some sort of affirmative action to withdraw from the conspiracy before the crime(s) is committed.

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