The Teamwork Crime of Conspiracy

Conspiracy involves someone agreeing to assist another person or a group of people with the carrying out of a crime or an illegal act. Conspiracy charges can be complicated because prosecutors do not need to prove that the accused participated in any act that was overtly criminal in order to either charge or to convict. According to Kohler Hart Powell, SC, the only thing that prosecutors will need to prove is that the accused conspired with at least one other person to commit a federal crime that was eventually attempted by another of the alleged conspirators. The charge of conspiracy requires only that action had been taken to begin the process of carrying out an illegal act. This action itself need not be a crime.

The conspiracy must begin with an agreement between the co-conspirators. This agreement does not need to be written or even overtly expressed. This agreement can be implicit, demonstrated merely by an action to complete the task taken by the party. Two common types of conspiracies include robbery conspiracies and drug conspiracies. In the case of a robbery conspiracy, the group plans together to rob either a person or a place. Drug conspiracy involves a plan to commit a drug crime, possibly by conspiring to possess, distribute, or manufacture illicit drugs.

Intent also plays an important role in conspiracy crimes. At least two parties in the conspiracy must intend to agree and all parties must intend to complete the illegal act. This means that knowledge of a crime is not enough to be considered of conspiring to commit a crime; the person must also agree to assist in the act in a direct way. Another type of conspiracy, RICO conspiracies, involve a group of people conspiring to commit a racketeering crime. A racket is a form of fraud that involves offering a service to solve a problem that does not exist or would not exist if the racket itself did not exist. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) was created with the purpose of seeking to eradicate organized crime of this nature. Racketeering is ripe for conspiracies because it often necessarily involves a large number of people in order to execute the act.

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