Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioners, Braverman and others (Petitioners), were indicted with others on seven counts, each charging a conspiracy to violate a separate and distinct internal revenue law of the United States.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. One agreement between co-conspirators cannot be taken to be several agreements and, therefore, conspiracies merely because it envisions the possibility of violating several statutes rather than one.
Issue. Should a single agreement to commit acts in violation of several penal statutes be punished as one or several conspiracies?
Held. Although the conspiracy envisioned several statutes that might be broken during the course of plan, there was but one conspiracy from which the actions of the co-conspirators emerged. As a result, both the Trial and the Appellate Courts were wrong to allow the Petitioners to be convicted upon seven conspiracies.
Discussion. No matter how many illegal acts emerge from an agreement between co-conspirators, it is that one conspiracy agreement that must be examined by any judge or jury. The court even went as far as defining conspiracy as “the agreement or confederation of the conspirators to commit one or more unlawful acts.” Therefore, through examination of the definition of conspiracy itself, multiple offenses can be sought through, but one conspiracy.