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Aiding and abetting requires that the alleged aider and abettor in some sort associate himself with the venture, that he participate in it as in something that he wishes to bring about, that he seek by his action to make it succeed.
Defendant Nicholas Janis had his house rented, and the same was used for gambling purposes. A witness testified that “in his opinion, the bets were being taken out of defendant’s house.” Defendant Nicholas Janis was charged of conducting an illegal gambling business or aiding and abetting. During trial, the trial judge gave the jury the “ostrich” instruction, stipulating that the jury may infer knowledge from a combination of suspicion and indifference to the truth. Defendant was convicted of the crimes charged. Defendant challenged his conviction.
Under the circumstances, was the defendant’s conviction proper?
The court reversed defendant's conviction for conducting an illegal gambling business or aiding and abetting its conducting, holding that he was entitled to have the jury instructed on the statute of limitations. The court found that he was indicted beyond the statutory period after the house he had rented ceased being used for gambling purposes. The court found that the gambling enterprise was a conspiracy and did continue into the statutory period, but defendant was charged not as a conspirator but as a participant in the conducting of an illegal gambling enterprise. The court concluded that witness testimony that defendant knew his house was being used as a wire room was not conclusive of defendant's knowledge, but was relevant and admissible. The court concluded that the trial court's "ostrich" instruction did not advance whether defendant was guilty or innocent.