The gist of the offense of conspiracy lies in the unlawful agreement. The crime is complete upon formation of the agreement; in Michigan, it is not necessary to establish any overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy as a component of the crime. However, a twofold specific intent is required for conviction: intent to combine with others, and intent to accomplish the illegal objective.
Accused was convicted by a jury in the Jackson Circuit Court for aiding and abetting the commission of unarmed robbery and extortion and of conspiracy to commit both offenses. The Court of Appeals affirmed Defendant's convictions of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion but reversed the convictions of unarmed robbery and conspiracy to commit unarmed robbery on the ground that the convictions, arising from the single act of obtaining money from the complainant, constituted double jeopardy. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Michigan attacking his convictions on the grounds of double jeopardy.
May a defendant be convicted of multiple offenses with common elements despite double jeopardy protections where there were differences in the substantive offenses?
The Court held that the crimes aiding and abetting the commission of extortion and conspiracy to perpetrate extortion were different for double jeopardy purposes under a necessarily lesser-included-offense analysis. Although the crimes contained common elements, aiding and abetting the commission of a crime and conspiracy to commit that crime were legally distinct offenses. The crimes were factually and theoretically independent, were neither inseparably intertwined nor merely alternative routes for creating liability for the substantive crime, and neither crime necessarily supplied an indispensable element of the other.