Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Where the legislature has dealt with crimes which necessarily involve the joint action of two or more persons, and where no punishment at all is provided for the conduct, or misconduct, of one of the participants, the party whose participation is not denounced by statute cannot be charged with criminal conduct on either a conspiracy or aiding and abetting theory. So, although generally a defendant may be liable to prosecution for conspiracy as an aider and abettor to commit a crime even though he or she is incapable of committing the crime itself, the rule does not apply where the statute defining the substantive offense discloses an affirmative legislative policy the conduct of one of the parties shall go unpunished.
Meagan R. appealed a judgment entered on juvenile court true findings she had committed burglary and misdemeanor vandalism. She challenged the burglary finding predicated upon a finding she entered a residence with the intent to aid and abet her own statutory rape, a theory not charged in the Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition.
Was Meagan R.’s liability for aiding and abetting or conspiring in her own statutory rape precluded as a matter of law?
The court reversed in part as to the true finding regarding the burglary and held Meagan R.’s liability for aiding and abetting her own statutory rape was precluded as a matter of law. Given that Meagan R. was the victim of statutory rape under Cal. Penal Code § 261.5, the juvenile court could not rely on that crime to serve as the predicate felony in the true finding she committed burglary. Although Meagan R. was not a member of the protected class with regard to the burglary offense of which she was convicted, she was the intended and protected victim of the predicate felony used by the juvenile court to support the burglary finding. As such, Meagan R. could not harbor the culpable state of mind necessary to commit the burglary, because under any theory she could not commit the crime of her own statutory rape.