Accomplices: A Theory of Joint Intention
22 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017 Last revised: 21 Jun 2019
Date Written: March 8, 2018
An accomplice is held criminally liable for the acts of another. Yet, the circumstances under which this liability should apply remain unclear owing to an inconsistent and under-articulated set of doctrines, some departing dramatically from foundational commitments of criminal law. We propose a framework that grounds this area of law in a considered account of joint intention, which preserves the central roles of both mens rea and individual intention in the assignment of criminal liability. A key novel concept in our approach is standing in reserve, which extends the coverage of a joint intention beyond the immediate participants in the primary criminal act and anchors a systematic way of assessing complicity in complex environments.
Keywords: mens rea, intention, criminal law, conspiracy, accomplice liability, complicity
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