Brief Fact Summary. No facts were provided in the Dressler casebook.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Conspiracy is defined as a partnership in criminal purposes, a mutual agreement or understanding, express or implied, between two or more persons to commit a criminal act or to accomplish a legal act by unlawful means.
Issue. There is no issue to be resolved in the portion of the case provided by Dressler.
Held. There is no holding by the Supreme Court of Michigan that appears in the portion of the case provided by the Dressler casebook.
Discussion. The portion of the case provided by Dressler examines the several elements that are necessary in order for a conspiracy to be found. Among the necessary elements examined by the Supreme Court of Michigan include:
In order for a conspiracy to form, two or more persons must have an understanding. Therefore, an agreement between only one conspirator and another individual, such as an undercover police officer, would not lead to a conspiracy because the police officer would not have the mens rea to accomplish the goals of that conspiracy.
The guilt or innocence of the conspirators does not depend upon the ultimate accomplishment of the goals of the conspiracy. All that is necessary is a desire among two or more parties to fulfill the goals of the conspiracy.
A conviction on a charge of conspiracy does not merge with a conviction of the completed offense. As a result, a defendant may be convicted and punished for both the conspiracy and substantive crime.
An overt act is not always a necessary element of conspiracy. This requirement varies among the states. However, where an overt act is required by statute, the requirement is often easy to fulfill by a conspirator. For example, if a group of two or more conspirators plans a robbery and then each individual conspirator takes affirmative steps to bring the plan to fruition such as renting a getaway car or scouting the location to be robbed, those steps alone may be enough to fulfill the overt act requirement.