State v. Linscott

520 A.2d 1067 (Me. 1987)

 

RULE:

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, § 57(3)(A) is to be interpreted as follows: Under the first sentence of that section, which is to be read independently of the second sentence, liability for a "primary crime" is established by proof that the actor intended to promote or facilitate that crime. Under the second sentence, liability for any "secondary crime" that may have been committed by the principal is established upon a two-fold showing: (a) that the actor intended to promote the primary crime, and (b) that the commission of the secondary crime was a "foreseeable consequence" of the actor's participation in the primary crime.

FACTS:

Defendant contended that his conviction for robbery and intentional or knowing murder as an accomplice under an accomplice liability statute violated his constitutional right to due process of law in that he lacked the requisite intent to commit murder. On appeal, the court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The court found, inter alia, that defendant's conviction pursuant to the accomplice liability statute did not violate defendant's right to due process under Me. Const. art. I, § 6-A and the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

ISSUE:

Did the defendant's conviction pursuant to the second sentence of subsection 3-A of the accomplice liability statute unconstitutionally violate his right to due process? 

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The court found that liability for any "secondary crime" that might have been committed by the principal was established upon a two-fold showing: (a) that the actor intended to promote the primary crime, and (b) that the commission of the secondary crime was a "foreseeable consequence" of the actor's participation in the primary crime. Therefore, an accessory was liable for any criminal act, which in the ordinary course of things was the natural or probable consequence of the crime that he advised or commanded, although such consequence might not have been intended. There is no constitutional defect in this statutory provision, nor any fundamental unfairness in its operation.

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