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Wharton's Rule applies only to offenses that require concerted criminal activity, a plurality of criminal agents. Only when it is impossible under any circumstances to commit the substantive offense without cooperative action, does Wharton's Rule bar convictions for both the substantive offense and conspiracy to commit that same offense.
Appellant exported stolen farm equipment from the United States and sold it in Mexico. Appellant was convicted on 1 count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate and foreign commerce, and 11 counts of transportation of stolen goods in interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 2, 2314. Appellant contended that either the Wharton Rule or the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Const. amend. V was violated by his conviction on both the conspiracy and the underlying substantive counts.
Was the Wharton Rule or the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Const. amend. V violated by the appellant’s conviction on both the conspiracy and the underlying substantive counts?
The court affirmed appellant's criminal conviction, finding no reversible errors. The court agreed with the district court's holding that the Wharton Rule and double jeopardy principles did not preclude appellant's conviction for both the interstate transportation of stolen goods and the conspiracy to commit the same offense. According to the court, Wharton's Rule applied only to offenses that required concerted criminal activity. Here, it was possible for appellant to transport stolen goods alone. Double Jeopardy also did not apply because each offense required proof of an additional fact that the other did not.