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Proctor v. State

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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.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

For with mere guilty intention, unconnected with overt act or outward manifestation, the law has no concern.

View Full Point of Law

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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