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31 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 1351 (1997-1998)
Accomplice Liability for Unintentional Crimes: Remaining within the Constraints of Intent

handle is hein.journals/lla31 and id is 1377 raw text is: ACCOMPLICE LIABILITY FOR
Audrey Rogers*
The doctrine of accomplice liability delineates when a person
may be guilty of a crime committed by someone else.' By definition,
accomplice liability is derivative in nature since the actor is removed
from direct involvement in the commission of the crime.2 Because of
this lack of direct involvement, the classic model of accomplice liabil-
ity requires that an accomplice intends to promote or facilitate the
commission of an offense and, consequently with this intent, aids the
principal actor? This intent requirement ensures that the accomplice
has a stake in the principal's acts; in effect, the accomplice makes the
acts his or her own. Since the accomplice's conscious objective is that
the underlying crime be committed, and thus aids in its commission,
it is fair to hold the accomplice as criminally culpable as the principal.
The extent to which a person may be an accomplice to an unin-
tentional crime is an area that has received relatively little judicial or
scholarly examination.5 The predominant reason for this dearth of
* Associate Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law. I wish to
thank Professor Donald L. Doernberg for his insightful comments and advice,
and my research assistant, Kelly Welch, for her help in preparing this Article. I
also thank John, Erica, and David Furfaro for their patience and support.
1. This Article uses the terms accomplice liability and complicity to de-
scribe instances where a party-the secondary actor-is found criminally re-
sponsible for the acts of another, the primary actor or principal.
2. See infra note 11 and accompanying text.
3. See infra Part I.B..
4. This Article uses the term unintentional to cover crimes requiring a
mental state of something less than intent or knowledge. Courts, however,
sometimes refer to such crimes simply as unintended. See, e.g., State v. Satern,
516 N.W.2d 839 (Iowa 1994). In fact, unintended crimes typically connote
situations where the principal commits offenses other than what the accomplice
intended. See infra notes 30-32 and accompanying text. For a discussion of the
ambiguity raised by the duality of the term unintentional, see infra notes 36-37
and accompanying text.
5. Professor Joshua Dressler noted the scarcity of scholarly commentary on

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