Question

Joe, Larry, and Thomas decided to rob the Anytown City Bank. They planned to rob the bank on Thursday because the bank always received a cash delivery that morning. The plan was that Joe would fly to Los Angeles on that day and check all three into a hotel for use as an alibi if needed. He would not be present within the state at the time of the robbery. In order to rent a car to use as a “get-away vehicle,” Thomas borrowed his mother’s credit card. He told her he needed to rent a fast car to keep the police from catching them after the robbery. The day prior to the robbery, the three men met in a bar and had several drinks. They bragged to the bartender about their plans to rob the bank. The bartender decided not to report the planned robbery because he held a grudge against the bank that repossessed his truck. Larry and Thomas talked Larry’s sister, Mary, into allowing them to hide on her farm after the robbery.
Larry was later arrested, and he confessed.

Discuss the following issues.

a. Classify all of the individuals involved in this scenario as to whether they would be considered (if any) a principal, an accessory before the fact, or an accessory after the fact based upon a common-law analysis and explain your rationale for each decision.

b. How did the law of principals develop in common law?
Briefly define modern criminal status and state how your classification of each individual differs under modern criminal statutes

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a) Classify all of the individuals involved in this scenario as to whether they would be considered (if any) a principal, an accessory before the fact, or an accessory after the fact based upon a common-law analysis and explain your rationale for each decision.

Answer:
An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal. The distinction between an accessory and a principal is a question of fact and degree. The individuals are classified as follows:

1. According to the facts, Joe, Larry, and Thomas are the conspirators and they can be charged with conspiracy to commit robbery under Sec 182 of the California Penal Code. They are the principals in the case as they were involved in creating the basic plan for bank robbery.
2. Joe, Thomas and Larry will be charged under Sec 182 (a) (1) for being the Principal in the crime of conspiracy....

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