Conspiracy is a separate and distinct offense from that of aiding and abetting, and involves the additional element of preconcert and connivance not necessarily inherent in the mere joint activity common to aiding and abetting.
The district court convicted defendants of bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery. One of the defendants argued that his convictions were multiplicitous - that conspiracy to rob a bank was the equivalent in law of aiding and abetting the commission of the bank robbery and thus what was essentially one criminal act had been pluralized into two offenses and punishments. The appelate court affirmed the convictions.
Could defendant be simultaneously convicted of aiding and abetting a robbery and of conspiracy to commit that same robbery?
Conviction for aiding and abetting was in no way dependent upon a finding of a criminal agreement which was the gist of the conspiracy conviction. The fact that the government's evidence served "double duty" in establishing the elements of both counts was of no consequence and no duplication was involved in the convictions for conspiracy and, as an aider and abettor, for bank robbery.