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Proctor v. State

Citation. 176 P. 771 (Okla. Crim. App. Ct. 1918).
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Brief Fact Summary.

Proctor (Defendant) appealed his conviction for keeping a dwelling with intent to sell alcoholic beverages there.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A criminal offense requires an overt illegal act.


Defendant was convicted of violating Oklahoma’s law against keeping a dwelling with the intent to sell alcoholic beverages. Neither Defendant nor Oklahoma alleged that he actually sold alcohol there. Defendant was convicted and appealed.


Does a criminal offense require an overt illegal act?


(Galbraith, Spec. J.) Yes. A criminal offense requires an overt illegal act. Criminal intent alone is not enough to base a conviction on. An illegal act must accompany that criminal intent. All Defendant did was to “keep a place” where no actual illegal activity occurred. This is not a crime. The statute is invalidated and the conviction vacated.


An act must be performed for a crime to be committed. Criminal law is meant to influence conduct, not intent.

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