Law School Case Brief
United States v. Jackson - 560 F.2d 112 (2d Cir. 1977)
In determining whether a defendant attempted a crime, the court applies a two-tiered inquiry: first, the defendant must have been acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for the commission of the crime for which he is charged with attempting; and second, the defendant must have engaged in conduct which constitutes a substantial step toward commission of the crime. A substantial step must be conduct strongly corroborative of the firmness of the defendant's criminal intent.
Appellants were convicted of conspiracy to commit an armed robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, and possession of unregistered sawed-off shotguns. They sought review of the attempted robbery convictions on the basis that they did not cross the line which separated mere preparation from attempt. The appellate court affirmed appellants' convictions.
Did appellants take substantial steps toward the furtherance of their plan to commit armed robbery?
The trial judge had properly concluded that appellants intended to execute a successful bank robbery and taken substantial steps in furtherance of their plan when they reconnoitered the bank and possessed the paraphernalia to be used in commission of the crime on two separate occasions. There were numerous other elements that strongly corroborated the firmness of appellants' criminal intent. Therefore, the trial judge did not err when he found appellants had taken substantial steps toward completion of the crime.
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