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State v. Hayes

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Bloomberg Law

Brief Fact Summary.

The Defendant, Hayes (Defendant), was convicted of burglarizing a general store. The Defendant’s accomplice in the burglary, a relative of the store owners, only participated so that the Defendant could be caught in the act and had no actual intent to rob the store.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The actions of one accomplice cannot be imputed, for purposes of criminal liability, to another accomplice if the original accomplice is merely feigning cooperation and lacks the requisite intent to commit a crime.


The Defendant and another individual agreed to rob a general store together. Unbeknownst to the Defendant, his accomplice was actually a relative of the store owners who was merely going along in order to catch the Defendant in the act of robbing the store. At the store, the Defendant opened a window and assisted his accomplice in gaining entrance to the building. Shortly thereafter, the two were apprehended.


Are the actions of the Defendant’s accomplice in entering the building imputable to the Defendant himself under the theory of accomplice liability?


No. Judgment reversed.
The Defendant’s accomplice did not enter the building to commit a crime, but merely to entrap the Defendant in the act of committing a crime and have him arrested. “The act of a detective may perhaps be not imputable to the defendant, as there is a want of community of motive. The one has a criminal intent, while the other is seeking the discovery and punishment of crime.” [State v. Jansen, 22 Kan. 498]. Since accomplice’s conduct in entering the building is not imputable to the Defendant, then the Defendant did not enter the building either actually or constructively and therefore cannot be guilty of the crime of burglary.


This case illustrates the principle in accomplice liability that the unlawful acts of one defendant are imputable to another only where there is a “common motive and a common design.” Here, the Defendant and his accomplice did not have the same intent in entering the building and were therefore not accomplices for purposes of accomplice liability.

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