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United States v. Haney

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Haney appealed an attempted escape conviction when he was not permitted to use the duress defense in trying to help a fellow inmate escape violent conditions within the prison.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    An individual can use the duress defense when the duress was exhibited towards a co-conspirator.

    Facts.

    After escaping from prison, Francis was described as being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood. In order to keep himself safe, Francis sought to escape prison again, and sought the assistance of another inmate, Haney. Haney suggested that Francis get caught while attempting to escape so that he would be separated from the other prisoners. Francis took Haney’s advice and both prisoners were charged with attempted escape. Francis was allowed to use the duress defense, but Haney was not. Haney appealed his conviction.

    Issue.

    Whether an individual can use the duress defense when the duress was exhibited towards a co-conspirator?

    Held.

    Yes. Haney’s conviction is reversed and the case is remanded. Haney was subject to the same harm that Francis was subject to due to his association with Francis. Although the duress defense is usually reserved for family members, the duress defense may be applied to third parties if the third party can prove that he is subject to harm due to his relationship with the defendant.

    Discussion.

    The duress defense is appropriate where: (1) There is an immediate threat of death or bodily harm, (2) the individual believes that the threat will be carried out, and (3) the individual does not have a way to avoid the threat.


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