Defenses


Generally, conspirators are jointly liable for conspiracy.  If there is evidence of the overt act performed for the purpose to attain the ultimate objective of conspiracy, a conspirator may be guilty of conspiracy[i].  Similarly, reasonably foreseeable acts done by the co-conspirators in furtherance of conspiracy will make the conspirators liable[ii].

The following arguments will not constitute a defense to a criminal conspiracy:

  • that it was the co-conspirators who committed the conspiracy’s objective[iii];
  • that the defendant was not present at the time and place of an alleged conspiracy(plea of alibi)[iv];
  • that the co-conspirator is an undercover police agent who extended cooperation and made the agreement for conspiracy[v];
  • that a conspiracy’s object was not achieved due to impracticability in performance[vi];
  • that the defendant had withdrawn from the conspiracy before any overt act is performed in furtherance of the conspiracy agreement which did not require an overt act;
  • that the defendant was unaware about the means to be employed for committing conspiracy[vii]; and
  • that the defendant was put under coercion by the co-conspirator to commit conspiracy, if there is evidence supporting the defendant’s willful knowledge and participation in a conspiracy[viii].

[i] United States v. Fell, 511 F.3d 1035 (10th Cir. Colo. 2007)

[ii] United States v. Gallo, 195 F.3d 1278 (11th Cir. Fla. 1999)

[iii] Bannister v. United States, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101447 (S.D. Fla. July 20, 2009)

[iv] United States v. Dungy, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7887 (N.D. Iowa Feb. 2, 2009)

[v] State v. Felkins, 156 Ariz. 37 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1988)

[vi] United States v. Everett, 692 F.2d 596 (9th Cir. Cal. 1982)

[vii] United States v. McKinney, 98 F.3d 974 (7th Cir. Ill. 1996)

[viii] United States v. Djoumessi, 538 F.3d 547 (6th Cir. Mich. 2008)