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One who has procured, counseled, or commanded another to commit a crime may withdraw before the act is done and avoid criminal responsibility by communicating the fact of his withdrawal to the party who is to commit the crime.
Defendant was in the hospital when her alleged accomplice set fire to her home. According to the accomplice, defendant had over-insured the house and belongings in preparation for the fire. However, defendant argued that she never planned the fire but even if she had that she withdrew from the crime before it occurred. Defendant had sent a third party to the house to drive defendant to the hospital to see her the day of the fire, but the accomplice refused the ride and set the fire instead. Defendant was convicted for the crime of arson in the second degree. Defendant appealed.
Was the defendant’s conviction proper under the circumstances?
The court reversed defendant's conviction. The court found that there was enough evidence to show that defendant had withdrawn from the conspiracy to commit arson before the event occurred because she had sent the third party to induce her accomplice to leave the premises before he set the fire. By withdrawing, defendant avoided criminal responsibility. Defendant, who allegedly procured, counseled, or commanded the accomplice to commit the crime could withdraw before the act was done and avoid criminal responsibility by communicating the fact of her withdrawal to the accomplice who was to commit the crime. The accomplice was solely criminally responsible for the fire, which he set.