Pinkerton v. United States

The criminal justice system imposes varying degrees of culpability on criminal defendants because the responsibility depends on the acts committed. The further one goes in the attempt of a criminal act the more severe the punishment. A person can change their mind and renege on committing a crime. Depending on the how far and how much one participated in the criminal act will decide whether they will be charged with attempt or the completed offense. The Pinkerton doctrine makes a conspirator criminally liable for the substantive offenses committed by a co-conspirator when they are reasonably foreseeable and committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. (Schmalleger & Hall, 2014) In the Pinkerton case, it was found that the individuals both had substantive offenses and were both found guilty of criminal conspiracy. The parties to the crime after the fact are not as liable as the principal participants. While still guilty, they do not meet all the statutory requirements for a criminal conviction on the criminal act itself. Being an accessory and an accomplice are different. An accomplice is held equally as liable as the principal offender. Providing aid to someone who intentionally is committing a crime adds to your criminal liability and punishment.


Schmalleger, F., & Hall, D. E. (2014). Criminal Law Today (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.


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