Double Inchoate Crimes

116 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2016

See all articles by Ira P. Robbins

Ira P. Robbins

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: 1989


American criminal law treats the inchoate crimes of attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation as substantive offenses punishable by criminal sanctions. The legal system criminalizes the types. of behavior that constitute these offenses to intervene before an actor completes the intended illegal act. Some jurisdictions now recognize the concept of double inchoate crimes, punishing inchoate offenses that are the immediate objects of other inchoate offenses.

In this Article, Professor Robbins examines the concept of double inchoate crimes, first by tracing the evolution of inchoate offenses and then by reviewing the judicial development of double inchoate crimes. Arguing that double inchoate crimes are needed to fill gaps and criminalize behaviors not covered by existing statutes, the Article then examines the case law upholding double inchoate constructions. The Article goes on to evaluate cases that reject and criticize this concept and advocates a policy-based approach. Finally, Professor Robbins recommends retaining certain double inchoate crimes, proposes model statutes for inchoate offenses, and urges a certain degree of judicial discretion in using these constructions.

Keywords: criminal law, inchoate crimes

Suggested Citation

Robbins, Ira P., Double Inchoate Crimes (1989). 26 Harvard Journal on Legislation 1 (1989).. Available at SSRN:

Ira P. Robbins (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-274-4235 (Phone)
202-274-4130 (Fax)

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