Brief Fact Summary. After a jury trial, in which the Defendant, Brown (Defendant), was found guilty of attempted burglary, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to a term of four years imprisonment. On appeal, the defense argues that the conviction should be reversed because the evidence established that the Defendant voluntarily abandoned his criminal activity and purpose.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Accountability for a charged offense is removed if, before the commission of the offense, the defendant terminates his efforts to promote such commission and makes a proper effort to prevent the commission of the offense.
Issue. Can the Defendant’s conviction of attempted burglary stand where the Defendant abandoned his efforts to commit the planned burglary and made an effort to prevent it from occurring?
Held. The withdrawal provisions of the accountability statute were not applicable to the attempted burglary charge in that the evidence supported a finding that the offense had occurred prior to the time of the Defendant’s withdrawal.
Discussion. The Defendant’s withdrawal was effective as to the charge of burglary because it occurred prior to the commission of the burglary. However, with respect to the charge of attempted burglary, the withdrawal came too late. The Defendant had already taken a substantial step toward the completion of the attempted burglary by kicking in the door of the premises with Schultz. This was more than mere preparation for the commission of the planned burglary and as such, led to the completion of the attempt.