Due Process Limits on Accomplice Liability

9 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2015

Date Written: June 19, 2015


American accomplice liability law is a disgrace, and this paper examines a rarely discussed aspect of that law: the operation of the "natural and probable consequences" doctrine. In this short piece, I point out how many such laws violate Due Process in two respects. First, they violate Winship in dispensing with any requirements that the prosecution prove the elements of the offense as against the accomplice. Second, compounding this violation, these laws fail Due Process on vagueness grounds, as they contain no elements that can be proved, thus providing an open-ended liability for these secondary actors.

Keywords: natural and probable consequences, due process, common design

Suggested Citation

Heyman, Michael Gerald, Due Process Limits on Accomplice Liability (June 19, 2015). Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 99, No. 3, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2620848

Michael Gerald Heyman (Contact Author)

The John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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