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State v. Gladstone

    Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Gladstone (Defendant), who offered the name and address of local drug dealer to a prospective buyer, was convicted of aiding and abetting another individual in the unlawful sale of marijuana.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order to be convicted of having aided and abetted a criminal offense, it must be shown that defendant did something in association or connection with the principal offender to accomplish the crime.

    Facts. An individual hired by the local police department went to the Defendant in order to purchase marijuana. The Defendant claimed not to have a sufficient amount to sell to the individual, so he referred him to another drug dealer, giving him the name of the dealer and directions to his location. There was no evidence that the Defendant contacted in any manner the drug dealer regarding the referral.

    Issue. Is a person guilty of aiding and abetting a criminal offense if he does not purposefully act in association with the principal offender to accomplish the crime?

    Held. No. Judgment reversed.
    In the absence of evidence that the Defendant ever communicated to the dealer that he would assist him in the sale of marijuana, or did anything more than describe the dealer to another person as someone who might sell him marijuana, the state failed to prove the Defendant aided and abetted dealer in committing a crime. The state did not prove that there was a nexus between the Defendant and dealer whom he was convicted of aiding and abetting.

    Dissent. When the Defendant referred the buyer to another marijuana dealer he thereby showed the requisite intent that his action would instigate or induce that dealer to commit a crime.

    Discussion. This case emphasizes the requirement of establishing a nexus between the party that aids and abets an offense and the principal offender. The court notes that the Defendant was convicted of aiding and abetting a dealer in the crime of selling drugs. His conviction was not for giving assistance to the prospective buyer, where the state’s case might arguably have been stronger on the one point of establishing a nexus.


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