Conspiracy: The Criminal Agreement in Theory and in Practice

46 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2011  

Paul Marcus

William & Mary Law School

Date Written: 1977


Professor Marcus combines empirical research and theoretical analysis in this comprehensive study of the conspiracy doctrine. The article shows that the theoretical reasons for the conspiracy doctrine are inapplicable to most actual conspiracy prosecutions and that the practical reasons for conspiracy charges are often unacceptable prosecutorial shortcuts. Although ultimately concluding that the conspiracy doctrine is needed in some limited instances, Professor Marcus indicates that prosecutors should bring conspiracy charges only when justified by proper reasons and that courts should consider such charges more carefully.

Keywords: conspiracy, doctrine, prosecution, court, and charge

Suggested Citation

Marcus, Paul, Conspiracy: The Criminal Agreement in Theory and in Practice (1977). Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 65, No. 4, 1977; William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-82. Available at SSRN:

Paul Marcus (Contact Author)

William & Mary Law School ( email )

South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
757-221-3900 (Phone)
757-221-3261 (Fax)

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