Brief Fact Summary. Meagan R. appeals a judgment entered on juvenile court findings that she had committed burglary. She challenges the burglary finding predicated upon a finding that she entered the residence with the intent to aid and abet her own statutory rape.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where the legislature has dealt with crimes which necessarily involve the joint action of two or more persons and where no punishment at all is provided for the conduct, or misconduct, of one of the participants, the party whose participation is not denounced by the statute cannot be charged with criminal conduct on either a conspiracy or aiding and abetting theory.
The doctrine that one may be liable when he or she aids the perpetrator of an offense, knowing of the perpetrator's unlawful purpose and intending, by his or her act of aid, to commit, encourage, or facilitate commission of the offense, snares all who intentionally contribute to the accomplishment of a crime in the net of criminal liability defined by the crime, even though the actor does not personally engage in all of the elements of the crime.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can a child be held responsible for aiding and abetting her own rape?
Held. As noted by the court, Meagan R. was the protected victim under Section:261.5 of the California Penal Code, a provision designed to criminalize the exploitation of children rather than punish the children themselves. As a result because Megan R. was in the class of protected persons under the statute, she cannot be charged with aiding and abetting her own rape.
Discussion. The court noted that the case of Megan R. is different than the case involving impossibility. Megan R. cannot be prosecuted for aiding and abetting because she was in a statutorily protected class. Alternatively, a defendant may be liable to prosecution for conspiracy as an aider or abetter to commit a crime even though she is incapable of committing the crime itself. For example, in dicta, the court noted that in common law, a husband could be convicted as an accomplice in the rape of his wife, even though he cannot be convicted as the perpetrator of the offense.